The Department of Finance had remitted $335,962 in hotel occupancy tax collection last December and $500,000 more this month to the Marianas Visitors Authority, for a total of $835,962, according to MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo yesterday.
Speaking at the MVA board meeting, Iakopo said that Finance still owes to the tourism body $4.3 million for fiscal year 2019, and $1.7 million for fiscal year 2020, for a total of $6.1 million.
Iakopo said they used the $500,000 payment to pay their offshore offices’ September invoices in full and that they were able to pay the 31-days-and-over owed local vendors.
When MVA vice chair Gloria Cavanagh asked about Finance’s promise last month to remit $2.45 million for December and this month, Iakopo explained that the communication she had last December with Finance Secretary David Atalig was that Finance will remit a million dollars, depending on the finalization of the bond that the government is planning to float.
Iakopo said she talked with Atalig last week, and that he disclosed that they’re still finalizing the bond.
She said Atalig mentioned that the payment plan is still as scheduled and that once the bonding is complete, they will remit the $1 million to MVA, and every week after that will be the $300,000.
The managing director said Atalig is hoping to complete the bonding by the end of this month.
Under the law, 80%t of the hotel occupancy tax collection goes to MVA, while 20% goes to the Settlement Fund.