Oct. 23, 2000
Lack of information hinders flow of grants to NMI
CNMI officials attending a workshop with federal representatives in San Francisco have underscored the need for free-flowing information regarding availability of U.S. grants that can be applied on the islands. Nearly $600 million were appropriated by the federal government in FY 99 alone to four insular areas-the Northern Marianas, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa, according to officials. But Commonwealth leaders have maintained only a portion of these cash resources went to the CNMI due to the fact that limited information is coming out to advice the island government of their availability.
Additional funding for Rota airport eyed
House Vice Speaker Alejo Mendiola on Friday announced additional federal funding may yet be allocated for improvements of the Rota International Airport under the Transportation Appropriations Bill which is up for enactment in the American capital. Rota is expected to receive an additional $1.25 million under the federal legislation, said Mr. Mendiola in a media statement. “The money is in addition to the $11 million in Covenant construction funds we receive every year from the Congress.” The vice speaker said the new funding will maximize the benefit derived by the CNMI government from its limited public works budget. “It also will not diminish the amount of money available to the CNMI for other airport work from the Aviation Trust Fund.”
Oct. 23, 2001
PSS seeks data collection funds
The Public School System is seeking $25,000 to enhance its record-keeping capabilities as the sole agency tasked to manage the education records of some 12,900 public and private school students in the CNMI. The school system, which is both the State and Local Education Agency for the insular area, is needing financial assistance to implement an accessible, automated system of reporting student and staff National Center for Education Statistics data. The data is an essential reference used by policy makers in decision-making activities concerning the local education sector.
CRM plans to cut watersports on Saipan lagoon
Despite the faltering economy worsened by a drop in tourism activities, the Coastal Resources Management remained steadfast on its plan to reduce watersport operations if a study would show that they degrade marine quality. Joaquin D. Salas, CRM acting administrator, revealed that an in-house study is now on track to determine the effect of the water activities on the entire Saipan Lagoon. At the same time, Salas said that the CRM is working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers on a separate set of studies on the lagoon, known as the “Saipan Lagoon Aquatic Restoration Project.”
Oct. 23, 2002
DOF limits purchases to $500 or less
Underscoring the rigorous need to cut back on operational expenses, the Department of Finance has implemented a measure that would limit purchase requisitions for open accounts to $500 or less. This is just the latest of a series of stringent cost-cutting measures being implemented by the Babauta administration to shore up shrinking government coffers. In a memorandum to all department and activity heads, Finance Secretary Frank B. Villanueva said his office has been receiving quite a number of purchase requisitions for open accounts, in varying amounts, particularly for food items, office supplies, and operational supplies. Some of the amounts are as high as $2,500, he said.
Chances dim on finding $600K for HPMR
With the clock winding down to a close on the $600,000 payment that Group Health and Life Insurance has to remit to its third-party administration this Friday, chances of finding the money on time just seem to get dimmer and dimmer. This, after Gov. Juan N. Babauta said that finding the money to make the payment is just a “temporary” solution to this problem. “I think the Legislature is trying to help out but obviously, we're having problems with cash flow and so, I think finding the money would be a temporary solution and I think we should be looking beyond that to a more permanent, long-term solution to the health insurance program for government employees,” said Babauta.