September 13, 2005
’DFS rethinks renovation’
The impending pullout of Japan Airlines has got DFS Galleria thinking twice about its $2.5-million renovation plan for the shop’s airport outlet. DFS Galleria informed the Commonwealth Ports Authority last week that the company may postpone its renovation proposal, CPA executive director Carlos Salas disclosed yesterday. The company’s plan comes in anticipation of the economic impact of JAL’s withdrawal from Saipan next month. “We’re discussing the plan with DFS. We have asked them to consider phasing in the project, rather than totally putting it aside, so that the renovation would be in place when the traffic returns,” said Salas.
’Higher prices of goods in the offing’
Rising fuel prices is having a spillover effect on the operational costs of local companies, as rising freight costs further push up the cost of doing business in the CNMI. Matson Navigation Company announced last week that it would raise its fuel surcharge from 11.5 to 13 percent in its services between Hawaii and the Marianas effective Oct. 2. Another ocean freight company, Horizon Lines, disclosed last week that it would increase fuel surcharge by 2.5-percent beginning this Thursday. Local wholesalers and forwarders see nothing in these but increased operational costs, which would inevitably impact on the prices of basic commodities in the CNMI.
September 13, 2006
’Former leaders did it to benefit themselves’
Wondering what caused all this huge unfunded liability by the government with the retirement fund program? And just why a small island government provides a very generous retirement package to its employees? According to Gregorio C. Sablan, a member of the retirement program, the answer can be traced back about two decades ago when legislators passed liberal retirement benefits.
Shell rolls back prices on unleaded gas
Shell Marianas lowered by 10 cents a gallon its prices for unleaded gasoline effective today. Shell president Ruben Domingo said the 10-cent per gallon reduction also applies to V-Power at Shell stations. There is no mention of any price rollback for diesel. “Shell will lower the prices on Shell V-Power and Shell Unleaded effective close of business Sept. 12. Since our last price decrease, the market cost of supply has continued to reduce and we will pass these savings to our customers,” Domingo said.
September 13, 2007
’Quit lobbying for takeover’
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial asked Washington Rep. Pete A. Tenorio yesterday to quit “lobbying” in favor of legislation placing local immigration under federal control. Fitial issued the statement amid Tenorio’s efforts to help U.S. congressional committees gather information and proceed with the federalization proposal. “I ask you again: Pete, please stop lobbying in favor of this legislation,” Fitial wrote in a letter to the CNMI resident representative to the nation’s capital. “On behalf of the overwhelming majority of the U.S. citizens in the Commonwealth, I ask that you and your staff stop such efforts and join the rest of us in urging that the congressional committees defer action on these bills until the GAO completes its report on the CNMI economy,” he added.
PSS’ reliance on federal funding increasing
The Public School System’s is seeing a dip in its reliance on local funding in the last 10 years, while seeing a converse increase in its dependence on federal funding to make up for the shortfall. This came up during a recent presentation conducted by PSS federal programs advisor Tim Thornburgh where he showed the 10-year funding trends for the CNMI school system from 1998 to 2008. In 1998, federal funding started with over $10 million. This increased to $15 million a year after and showed a consistent upsurge from 2000 to 2002. In 2003 and 2004, federal funding spiked dramatically, with over $20 million in federal funds poured into PSS. In 2005, federal funding passed the $25-million mark and increased by $5 million last year. This year, federal funding reached over $30 million. Thornburgh projects that federal funding for the CNMI education system would increase by a couple of millions more in 2008.