Finance secretary: New revenue projection will be out soon

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A NEW revenue projection for fiscal year 2021 will be out soon, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said on Wednesday.

In an email, he told Variety: “The administration will be updating our budget to reflect those who were furloughed and any possible revenue updates for the new fiscal year.”

His department “is still working on the projections and will finalize the numbers in the coming weeks.”

Earlier, the administration said the projected revenue in FY 2020 would amount to $144.4 million of which $70.6 million would be available for appropriation.

Senate President Victor B. Hocog noted that 300 of the 500 furloughed government employees are civil service employees. He said Finance is now reviewing these furloughs “to determine whether the government can bear the costs of their health and life insurance benefits until such time that they are called back to work or decide to separate from the CNMI government.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Ivan Blanco said they want to see the impact of the federal Covid-19 assistance on the FY 2021 budget.

In a meeting with the governor and senators on May 11, Atalig said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act provided $36.1 million to the CNMI for Covid-19 containment-related expenses.

“CARES Act was a blessing, because it relieved a lot of the stresses,” he told the senators. “We had front liners, we had people working, in hopes that we could find funding or assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay them.”

He said the $10 million initially identified from the general fund in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will be reimbursed through federal funding under the CARES Act with the understanding that FEMA may not reimburse certain projects.

These include the expenses incurred by the CNMI government in preparing the former Mariana Resort & Spa as an alternative quarantine site in the event that Kanoa Resort and the Pacific Islands Club have reached their capacity.

FEMA earlier projected that the CNMI could have 6,500 Covid-19 cases by May 20.

As of May 27, the CNMI had recorded 22 confirmed cases, 13 recoveries, and two deaths. Guam had 171 cases, 143 recoveries, and five deaths while the U.S. had 1.72 million confirmed cases, 365,000 recoveries, and 100,000 deaths.



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