Feb. 4, 1999
McPhetres questions NMC budget cut
The House committee on Health, Education and Welfare yesterday resumed its oversight hearing on the financially-troubled Northern Marianas College, investigating into management and personnel policies as well as its autonomous functions as mandated under the laws. The panel, chaired by Rep. Heinz Hofschneider, noted inconsistencies in the college policies as it asked NMC officials to hand over several documents, including salary structure of employees and an opinion from its former legal counsel clarifying its status as autonomous government agency. Among these included spending authority on donations to the college, conversion of "short-term" employees to full time without advertising the position, a multi-scale pay plan and disbursement of revenues from tuition and fees.
DPH proposes to ban sale of foreign drugs
The Department of Public Health and the local Medical Profession Licensing Board have proposed to ban the importation and sale of foreign pharmaceuticals in the Northern Marianas amid potential health threats to the community that may consequently jeopardize the agency's dwindling resources. In a news conference yesterday, Villagomez told reporters the proposed new regulation has already been published in the Commonwealth Registry. They are just awaiting public comments before it becomes fully implemented. "Sales of foreign drugs in the CNMI will no longer be allowed.
Feb. 4, 2000
Senate scraps $100K security deposit
Consistent with their new commitment to help revitalize the local economy, the Senate yesterday set in motion the plan to ease the $100,000 security deposit imposed on foreign investments-a requirement that business leaders insist scare away potential investors. In their first regular session under the 12th Legislature held on Tinian, senators voted unanimously to amend provisions of Foreign Investment Act to provide leeway to investors in meeting such requirement, other than a cash deposit. Yesterday's approval of the proposal followed a two-year effort by the legislative branch to scrap the cash requirement. Although passed by the 11th House of Representatives, the initial bill died down in the Senate due to lack of support.
House set to begin budget deliberation
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to hand in a budget package for Fiscal 2000 when the lower house begins its regular session on Feb. 14 for its immediate approval, according to its chairman. Rep. Antonio M. Camacho said that while there will be some changes in the proposal submitted by the administration, the bill will have to stay within its $207 million spending level. He stressed that priority programs, such as the scholarship, medical referral and the public safety, will receive additional funding once the committee has trimmed appropriations from other agencies and streamlined government operations. "We are leaning towards increasing their budget but we have to identify some operations that are idle before we can act on their requests," Mr. Camacho told in an interview.
Feb. 4, 2002
Torres backs Northern Islands development plan
Rep. William S. Torres urged both local and federal agencies to financially help the Northern Islands government carry out a development project, which is envisioned to pave the way for the area’s economic and social growth. In a proposal submitted to the 13th House of Representatives, Torres said the Northern Islands should be allowed to borrow funds from the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund, the Commonwealth Development Authority, or the US Rural Development Program for the procurement of reliable high-speed ocean-going vessels for transportation. Under the proposal, the legislator also underscored the need for the immediate construction of a seaplane ramp, an airport runway, harbor facilities, and government buildings.
LPG firm withdraws Tinian expansion plan
The Commonwealth Ports Authority will start negotiations with the Saipan Industrial Gas Inc. for a possible expansion to Tinian, after another Saipan-based company relinquished its original plan. Carlos H. Salas, CPA executive director, said the proposal to build a gas plant on Tinian is in line with the projected demand on the island. Salas said negotiations between Saipan Gas and the CPA will begin as soon as some details are worked out. He said Saipan Gas officials have previously submitted a proposal to the ports authority.