Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig projects the CNMI’s financial situation to remain “a little gloomy” until the summer of 2021.
Speaking at radio news briefing last Friday, Atalig was asked about his financial forecast six months or a year from now and he said the CNMI Senate is currently dealing with the CNMI budget for fiscal year 2021.
He said his current projection for revenue is about $144 million, which is $100 million less than what they expected to get when fiscal year 2020 started in October 2019.
“We projected to probably hit that as we see airlines and tourists not coming back,” he said.
Atalig said they don’t expect to see any turnaround in the economy until the summer of 2021. “With that in mind, our projections really are related to that,” he said, adding that they won’t see an increase in business gross revenue tax and hotel occupancy tax, as well wages and salaries. This means a lot of people will still be unemployed, he added.
He said they are hoping that programs like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will continue into the new fiscal year.
“So it is a little gloomy, per se, today,” Atalig said.
Things can still change in the next six months, he said, as they’re looking at revenues on a month-to-month basis.
He said any additional federal assistance will be helpful to the economy.
“The bottom line is that our health, our community is safe,” he said as he underscored the need to use all current available resources to secure the necessary personal protective equipment and activities in order to keep the community safe.