Dead calm in paradise


A strange calm has descended on these isles in recent weeks. I find it rather very unsettling in that it usually brings with it bad tidings. At its simplest level it deals with conditions that affect quality of life here.

For instance, the loss of $7 billion from the exit of Nippon investments in recent past presents a challenge to the NMI in terms of its economic contraction. How do we replace investment exit? Is so-called leadership on the ball on this score?

The loss also obviates other pertinent queries regarding funding for ongoing services, e.g., how would they fare as revenue decreases? It’s a tough cookie to resolve as the coffers go empty beyond normalcy as investments exit these isles.

Austerity was implemented this week (10-12 percent cut) given that revenues keep moving on its southerly slide. How many government employees are there and wouldn’t salary decrease affect family buying power, especially the 15,000 now earning poverty income? This number may increase even further as cuts or decrease in income takes its bite on the family purse.

Meanwhile, Japan has decided to shore up domestic growth at home after the adverse effects of natural disasters like heavy rain and earthquakes. Thus, the homeward bound of Nippon investments from all over Asia and the Pacific. Would the planned growth move forward smoothly or would there be issues ahead?

Is the casino industry now a stable investment and what’s the future of the retirement program? Retirees need definite answers so they know that there’s security in their future. Has it collected its BGRT for fiscal year 2018 and 2019?

With a wobbly economy riddled with uncertainty, this isn’t the time either for major policy changes. It would be very disruptive. Take a step back and reassess where revenue generation has gone, with the view to strengthening it in the interim. It should give city hall the opportunity to work on a plan to move things forward in an organized fashion.

Beyond contentment of resting happily on perennial menopausal lamañana, is there anything else under your sleeves worthy of consideration and disposition?


Budget cut: With a projected decrease in financial resources the local government has begun cutting cost of 10 percent across the board. Responsible call! Better employ prudent spending now while there’s little left for basic needs.

The exit of investment from the Land of the Rising Sun doesn’t leave much room to regain our financial posture. For all we know, it could be one difficult sunset as distant skies chase the rainbow gathering into serious financial rainstorm.

But it would be quite dry on our side of the horizon.


Training! In the process, the NMI works in concert with OSHA to train interested locals secure a set of skills for jobs opportunities ahead. It’s a good effort on the part of the two agencies that ensure an eventual cadre of trained workers at home. It’s a good start to hopefully attain gainful employment to bring home the bacon, so to speak.

Next is the issue of minimum wage parroting federal wage of $7.25 an hour stretched out to play catch up. As we fiddle with this issue, there’s also loose talk about “prevailing wage,” perhaps mistakenly viewed synonymously with MW. The former stands at $7.25 an hour, the latter anywhere near $15-$30 an hour. Seems the NMI did everything except resolve basic issues that really matter.

The CW issue would turn history up ahead. As current workers under this category see their contracts expire, so does the law. How then does the NMI resolve labor requirements when the CW law expires? Who’s really in charge ascertaining that the NMI trains its workforce? What happens to the immediate future in light of the impending changes?

So there’s the economic slowdown from Yutu, Japanese visitors taking their luggage to airplanes going elsewhere, airline issues out of Japan and other markets, among others.

Yet we seem complacently mustering the requisite resolve to avert negative implications or hardship from changes in federal law. Something doesn’t add up, not to mention the lack of solid plans to move the economy forward. No wonder the deafening echo from an unusual calm in lamañana land!


In her report to the Legislature, Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson said the revenue collection for fiscal year 2018 was $140,817,579, which was lower than the original projection of $145,260,125.

The expenditures totaled $166,728,296, or $22,692,654 over the budgeted allotment.

The revenue shortfall and over-expenditures resulted in a $25,910,717 deficit, the report stated.

The revenue collection plus “other financing” in fiscal year 2018 totaled $224,210,850, but Larson said this does not include revenues reserved for debt service and “transfers” to various earmarks as mandated by law.

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.
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