Governor renews Finance chief’s authority to reprogram funds

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres last week issued Executive Order 2020-12 to renew the authority of Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig to reprogram or transfer funds from any department, agency, office, board, commission, corporation, instrumentality or other entity of any branch of the Commonwealth government in order to meet the threat of Covid-19.

The original executive order, 2020-5, was signed on March 18, 2020.

The governor also authorized the Finance secretary to create a separate business account called the “Covid-19 Threat Prevention and Mitigation Account” into which all funds taken under the secretary’s authority “shall be deposited, and shall maintain a strict accounting of the sources of funds deposited into the account and disbursements therefrom.”

In E.O. 2020-12, the governor stated that renewing the Finance secretary’s authority “is a reasonably necessary response in order to ensure that the government is able to meet the Covid-19 threat.”

With his renewed authority, the Finance secretary “shall continue to coordinate with the special assistant for management and budget and any other necessary government officials or agencies, Commonwealth or federal, in carrying out his authority.”

The governor’s latest E.O. takes effect retroactively to May 18, 2020 and “shall remain in effect for 30 days from that date.”

On Jan. 29, 2020, the governor declared a state of significant emergency in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, and ordered the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to implement quarantine and preventive containment measures. He also directed the Finance secretary and the special assistant for management and budget to assess the fiscal impact of the outbreak on the government budget.

As of May 28, the CNMI had recorded 22 Covid-19 cases, 13 recoveries, and two deaths. Guam had 172 cases, 143 recoveries, and five deaths while the U.S. had 1.74 million cases, 372,000 recoveries and 102,000 deaths.


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