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Saturday, April 19, 2014

CDA discloses $7.8M in bank accounts

As of last month, the Commonwealth Development Authority had a total of $7.89 million in the bank.

CDA comptroller Donnie Militante reported to the board of directors that the bank balances are for three specific accounts all handled by the agency.

The operations account has a balance of $1.2 million as of Jan. 31 this year while the loan accounts has $1.8 million. The third account, the DBD/CIP (development banking division/capital improvement project), has $4.84 million.

According to Militante, this $4.8 million DBD/CIP fund balance includes $2.16 million in uncommitted CIP funds available for re-appropriation by the Legislature and $1.25 million that has already been committed to some CIP projects for three senatorial districts as appropriated by lawmakers in the past five years but which hasn’t been moving and are considered as “dormant.”

The agency’s collections in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 (October to January) totaled $365,000. Included in this amount is $257,000 collected from loans, which is a 12-percent decline compared to the same period last fiscal year, or a drop of around $31,000.

Militante said the decrease reflects the non-payment of Freedom Air since September 2013. It will be recalled that the airline has filed for bankruptcy, which prevents collection from its current arrears.

Also part of total collection is $108,000 from lease payments. This amount, Militante disclosed, is a 20-percent increase over the same period last year, equal to about $18,000.

CDA is a government agency tasked to provide economic loans to private and public sectors for economic development.

‘$700K ready to loan out’

According to Militante, CDA has a $700,000 balance in its loan account that could be provided to eligible borrowers. This amount is projected to increase to $1 million at the end of the fiscal year, assuming this is not loaned out.

“Aside from this, we’re also expecting to collect from Arctic Circle to augment our loanable funds,” said Militante, alluding to the airline company’s $600,000 loan.

In an earlier interview with Saipan Tribune, CDA director Manuel Sablan had said that parties are now finalizing the details of a repayment scheme for this $600,000 Arctic Circle loan.

Cash-flow projection

Militante also notified the board of the status of the agency’s cash flows. It was revealed that on the operations side, CDA projects a net cash flow of $105,000 up to the end of fiscal year 2014 in September.

On the loan side, the agency projects a net of $301,000 for the 12-month period, which could be added to the agency’s loan balances.

For CIP monies, Militante forecasts to have $358,999 in fiscal year 2014, an amount that he said would increase as a result of the payments received from Commonwealth Ports Authority loans.

“Even though we projected a shortfall of $105,000 [for fiscal year 2014], I am confident that we can cover that because we always spend less than our budgeted expenses, as we always do every year,” according to Militante.

Restricted funds

CDA also disclosed the following figures under the “restricted” funds, which are reserved for specific purposes and programs.

For the DBD/CIP projects, restricted funds amount to $2.1 million; for loan, obligated is at $786,000 after deducting the $1 million set aside for housing; and $27,000 reserved for the Brownfield program.

CDA board chair Diego Songao disclosed during Tuesday’s board meeting that the agency has been wanting to tap the Brownfield funds for the longest time, to no avail.

“We’ve been inquiring this amount for so long as to how we can make use of this money. This has been in our financial statements [for years] and we have not received any response from the administration how this fund will be used or make use of it,” said Songao.

CDA management officials later explained that, after an inquiry with the Division of Environmental Quality, it was learned that the “Brownfield funds” is strictly intended for the promotion and marketing of the program of the agency, which may include the improvement of its website.

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