Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-12:41:53A.M.






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MVA gets $500K in hotel occupancy tax

FINANCE Secretary David DLG Atalig said the central government remitted $500,000 in hotel occupancy tax collections to the Marianas Visitors Authority last week.

“I’m trying to [remit] more frequently,” he said in an interview on Tuesday at the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting. “We do owe them also from last fiscal year, and I am going to make sure that we pay them for that.”

Atalig said after Super Typhoon Yutu pummeled Saipan and Tinian just over a month after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Rota, the central government had to spend available local funds on disaster relief and recovery while paying the Settlement Fund $1 million a week, and trying to meet the other pressing obligations of the CNMI government.

At the same time, he added, tourism arrivals dropped significantly and many businesses also took a big hit from Yutu.

The significant decline in government revenue collections has caused a delay in remitting the MVA share of the hotel occupancy tax collections, he added.

“At that time, we were just going crazy trying to manage what little money that was coming in to pay the government’s many obligations, which include the Public School System,” Atalig said.

He said Northern Marianas College, for its part, “has been very patient with us and they used their revenue” to cope with the delay in remittances from the central government.

As for MVA, its board vice chair Gloria Cavanagh said as of this month, the agency has received 52 percent only of the $12 million that the central government must remit to MVA.

MVA has $5.7 million in receivables from the central government, she added.