Finance Secretary David Atalig has described as false the rumor that the Department of Finance has not made any fiscal year 2020 remittances to the Northern Marianas College since October, noting that he recently made an allotment to the college.
Atalig told Saipan Tribune that his department just remitted $750,000 to the college last week.
“We are transferring money…$750,000, and then I have spoken with NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico about transferring more consistently weekly,” he said, adding that NMC had been “patient” with its limited resources since before the remittance of the $750,000.
“[NMC] has been patient with using their resources when we weren’t transmitting, but it’s come to a point where they need the money and, fortunately our collections are a little better, so we were able to help out,” he said.
Atalig noted that it is unclear whether the allotments that are being given to entities that have receivables from the Department of Finance such as NMC and the Marianas Visitors Authority are charging the remittances to the current fiscal year or to past obligations.
“…With NMC and MVA, I owe them allotments from last fiscal year. So, when I give them money, I don’t know if they are crediting it for last year or [this year]. It may look like it is not [credited to] this year, but I look at the total amount of what I owe them from last fiscal year and this [fiscal year’s appropriation], then that is my total obligation,” he said.
“As I transfer to them, they are probably applying credits toward last fiscal year, which is the same result—they are getting cash,” he added.
When asked if there needs to be a meeting to clarify where the allotments are credited to, he noted that he met with MVA’s managing director last week to talk about more consistent transfers.
“Basically, [I] gave [them] my word that I will be transferring more often,” he said, adding that there was no formal agreement on the allotment frequency.
“There is no formal agreement, they are just communicating and sharing their needs. If they are short for payroll, then we will do our best to help. Bottomline is, my obligation is everybody gets paid. That is part of our priority,” he added.