Finance chief says price-freeze directive still in effect

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THE CNMI government has not lifted Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ restraints on price increases, according to Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig.

He added that businesses can reduce their prices, but “they cannot raise it back to more than the ‘price-freeze’ prices when the directive went into effect.”

For example, the regular gasoline price when the governor issued the price freeze on March 5 was $3.93 per gallon while supreme cost $4.38 a gallon. After a series of price rollbacks over the last two months, the price of regular gas dropped to $3.08 a gallon. Mobil Oil Marianas and Shell Marianas raised their gasoline prices last week by 15 cents bringing the regular gas price to $3.23 a gallon.

On March 5, the governor issued Executive Order 2020-03, declaring a price freeze “to protect CNMI residents during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and the unexpected economic downturn.”

The directive applies to the prices of gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, natural gas, and all other chemical fuels, whether in gaseous, liquid, or solid form; all foods and foodstuffs, including water, bottled water, beverages, and ice; all clothing; flashlights, lamps, lanterns, candles, light bulbs, and other means of illumination; generators, cables, wires, electrical batteries of every sort, and similar equipment for the generation and/or transmission of electrical power; all appliances used in the storage and/or preparation of food, including, but not limited to, stoves, barbecue grills, ovens, refrigerators and coolers; tools typically used for construction, ground clearing, or home repairs, whether electrically powered, chemically powered, or manual, including, but not limited to, saws, machetes, hammers, drills, shovels, rakes, and brooms; and all bedding items, including pillows, futons, and blankets.


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