Jan. 9, 2001
CDA loan delinquency rate in all-time high
Slowdown in business activities during the past three years had taken its toll on the loan portfolio of the Commonwealth Development Authority which reported on Monday that delinquency rate has gone up to record-high. Although she did not disclose the specific percentage for delinquent loans, executive director Marylou S. Ada said the number of remiss borrowers in the last calendar year has surpassed the 20-percent mark. "It is very high. Delinquency rate was a big problem and we recognized even before that it's going to be a problem because a lot of businesses have closed down and there's too little money circulating around," Ms. Ada told reporters in an interview.
Creation of tobacco settlement trust account pushed
The House of Representatives is expected to vote by this week on the measure establishing a special account to keep money received by the CNMI under the multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement agreement. Health and Welfare Committee chair Rep. Malua T. Peter, author of HB 12-290, said the government needs the legislation to set aside the payments remitted to the islands every year for future appropriation. Peter, along with Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Antonio M. Camacho, met last week with Finance Sec. Lucy DLG Nielsen to inquire what happened to the more than $800,000 already given to the CNMI since 1999.
Jan. 9, 2002
Adriano: Lift hiring ban but raise minimum wage
Sen. Joaquin G. Adriano says he will support the lifting of the moratorium on the hiring of nonresident workers, provided that certain conditions are met. Adriano, who will be the Senate Floor Leader in the 13th Legislature, said the ban on the hiring of new nonresident workers-Public Law 11-6-may be lifted on the condition that the CNMI minimum wage is raised to US mainland standards. “The minimum wage should be raised to somewhere around $4.10 to $4.25 per hour. In that way, we can attract our own people to go and work in the private sector,” he said. Currently, the CNMI’s minimum wage is pegged at $3.05.
Inauguration fever hits Capital Hill
Six days before the inauguration day and preparations are in now full swing, with ground zero-the executive and legislative buildings-being decked out in their Sunday’s best. The smell of fresh paint and Pine-Sol hangs in the air as workers go over the insides and outsides of both buildings with new coats of paint. Windows that have accumulated grime are being washed clean and restored to their original sparkling selves. Both upper and lower chambers are a mass of jumbled chairs and tables and cables, with the installation of new light brown carpets and gallery seats.
Jan. 9, 2003
NMIRF halts new investments
The NMI Retirement Fund has already stopped infusing new money into its international investments pool, forced as it is to take this action as the government’s debt to the Fund nears the $100-million mark. With no new money being injected into investments, this could seriously jeopardize the Fund’s capacity to be in the black by 2020-the deadline set by its charter to achieve self-sufficiency. Fund administrator Karl T. Reyes disclosed these concerns, saying all the money that the Fund currently derives from premium payments and other sources of revenue all go out to pay off pension checks and other obligations to vendors.
Female-headed families low in NMI
The number of female-headed families in the Northern Marianas remains relatively low compared to the national level, according to a recent report based on Census 2000 data. The report-Children of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Results of the 2000 Census-disclosed that about 17 percent of families with children in the CNMI were headed by female householders in 2000, lower than the national level of 22 percent. However, the total number actually increased in 2000 compared to the 1990 tally, which translates to about 1,106 female-headed families throughout the Commonwealth in 2000 from only 465, or 12 percent, in 1990. Population experts said that the structure of family has important implications for children.