Leepan wants provisions to require govt to pay on time


Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) wants to require the Commonwealth government and its agencies to pay their contractual obligations on time.

He has introduced House Bill 19-192, which would establish provisions to get government to pay on a timely manner.

The bill’s findings cite the “unjustified delays” in prompt compensation that discourages firms and organizations from doing businesses with the Commonwealth government and agencies.

Among other provisions, the bill states, “each Commonwealth agency which is required to make a payment from Commonwealth funds according to a contract and which does not make such a contract payment by the required payment date shall be liable for payment to the contractor.”

It is also states that unless otherwise agreed by the contract, the required payment date shall be 30 calendar days, excluding legal holidays, or 90 calendar days in the case of final payments on highway construction contracts, excluding legal holidays.

But the bill details exemptions for this requirement like insufficient cash balance of the fund or sub-fund from which payment is to be made, if goods or services have not been delivered, and if an invoice must be examined by the federal government prior to payment, among others.

“Consistent with accepted business practices and with sound principles of fiscal management, it is the intent of this legislation to encourage Commonwealth agencies in all three branches of Commonwealth Government to make payments expeditiously as they currently do and to further reduce existing payment processing times whenever feasible,” the bill states.

The bill also at the same time intends to permit agencies to “perform proper and reasonable financial oversight activities designed to ensure that the Commonwealth government receives the quality of goods and services to which it is entitled and to ensure that public funds are spent in a prudent and responsible manner.”

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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