Finance still owes MVA $5.3M


Marianas Visitors Authority board chair Marian Aldan-Pierce presides over a board meeting yesterday at MVA’s conference room in Oleai/San Jose. During the meeting, acting MVA managing director Judy C. Torres disclosed that the Department of Finance remitted to the MVA $1.5 million in hotel occupancy tax collection last month, but that $5.3 million remains pending.

The Department of Finance turned over $1.5 million in hotel occupancy tax collections to the Marianas Visitors Authority last September but, according to MVA acting managing director Judy C. Torres, this is only a partial amount.

In her status report on the hotel occupancy tax receivables at the MVA board meeting yesterday, Torres said the $1.5 million means that Finance is only current with the hotel occupancy tax collection remittance up to March.

To date, Torres said, MVA has gotten a total of about $5.8 million from Finance. About $5.3 million remains pending or has yet to be turned over to MVA, she added.

With respect to vendor payables for MVA offshore offices, she said MVA has fully paid June and July 2019 invoices and made 50% payment for the August invoices.

For the MVA Korea offshore office, Torres said that MVA has fully paid the August 2019 invoices.

Torres said they have processed payments for local and other vendors with invoices that are 60 days and over past due.

“So that’s our current status as of September,” said Torres, adding that they have collected all the receivables for fiscal year 2018.

Last Aug. 1, MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo disclosed that they received a total of $1.3 million from Finance.

Iakopo said, however, that, as of June 2019, Finance still owes MVA $4.7 million in hotel occupancy tax.

Last July, Rep. Joseph “Lee Pan” T. Guerrero (R-Saipan) urged Finance to transmit the $5.1 million that it owes MVA in hotel occupancy tax collection, saying Finance is technically violating the law when it fails to remit the collection.

Guerrero, who chairs the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, pointed out that, under the law, 80% of the hotel occupancy tax collection goes to MVA, while the remaining 20% goes to the Retirement Settlement Fund.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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