‘Implementation of new financial management info system was rushed’


Acting Department of Finance Secretary Tracy B. Norita acknowledged that the previous Finance leadership rushed the implementation of the CNMI government’s new financial management information system, Munis, but she said she does not know why.

Responding to a point Sen. Celina R. Babauta (D-Saipan) raised during Norita’s confirmation hearing that many government employees have complaints and concerns with the implementation of Munis, Norita agreed.

“Their complaints and concerns are valid,” she said.

What Norita said she can tell the committee is that when Munis was purchased, the implementation plan was set for at least four to five years for the full implementation process. However, she said, at the decision of the prior leadership at Finance, that implementation plan was shortened to 13 months.

“I can’t see the reason or the decision behind that because I was not part of it. But I do know now that we see the impact, the implications of a rushed implementation,” Norita said.

Babauta, who chairs the Senate Executive Appointments and Government Investigations Committee, raised questions about Munis during the committee’s confirmation hearing last week on Norita’s nomination to serve as Finance secretary.

This came about after Norita stated that Munis has the potential to streamline a lot of their workload, but that they are still in the process of its implementation.

Babauta said many have complained about the implementation of Munis and part of it is the lack of training for employees and the approving authorities on how to use the new system. Norita said they dp have a plan to do more extensive training for the new system.

Now that she is the Finance secretary in an acting capacity, Norita said her first priority for Munis is to pull back the resources that left the central government and the resources from the vendor. She said Tyler technologies, the developer of Munis, has to come back and conduct a reset of some sort to ensure that the Munis financial system is fully functioning.

“And we are currently in that stage. We have a change over of project manager from Tyler. So we have new people on the ground. We are in the assessment phase,” Norita said.

The acting Finance secretary is hopeful that the concerns that have been brought by all agencies and vendors alike will be addressed.

Then-Finance secretary David DLG Atalig stated in October 2021 that Munis will speed up business processes and will allow the government to have fiscal transparency, effective and efficient processes, and help in getting things done quickly and better. (Ferdie de la Torre)

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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