A price freeze has been declared throughout the CNMI in a move meant to protect CNMI residents during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, which has weakened the economy.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed Executive Order 2020-03 yesterday, declaring the price freeze.
“Protecting the health and safety of our residents includes protecting their ability to provide for their families during this unanticipated economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus,” said Torres.
He noted in his order that the CNMI is experiencing an “unprecedented economic circumstances” that affect everyone.
“…It is our obligation to protect the spending power of our residents so we can feed our families and make ends meet during these difficult times ahead. Now more than ever is the time to come together as one Commonwealth and look out for each other,” Torres added.
In addition to this price freeze, Torres wrote letters to all CNMI banks last week to ask them to consider providing a three-month grace period for all loans, mortgages, promissory notes, and other monetary obligations owed from residents on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios added that businesses should not take advantage of residents during these challenging times.
“We value our businesses as strong partners, but we are in the midst of an economic crisis that requires all of us to look out for each other. As a government and as leaders, we will do our part to protect everyone during these difficult times. Businesses should not look to exploit residents during this crisis,” he said.
The last time the CNMI government ordered a price freeze was in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018. It was only lifted a year later, October 2019.
The prices of the following items are frozen:
1. Gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, natural gas, and all other chemical fuels, whether in gaseous, liquid, or solid form;
2. All foods and foodstuffs, including water, bottled water, beverages, and ice;
3. All clothing;
4. Flashlights, lamps, lanterns, candles, light bulbs, and other means of illumination;
5. Generators, cables, wires, electrical batteries of every sort, and similar equipment for the generation and/or transmission of electrical power;
6. All appliances used in the storage and/or preparation of food, including, but not limited to, stoves, barbecue grilles, ovens, refrigerators, and coolers;
7. Tools typically used for construction, ground clearing, or home repairs, whether electrically powered, chemically powered, or manual, including, but not limited to, saws, machetes, hammers, drills, shovels, rakes, and brooms.
8. All bedding items, including pillows, futons and blankets. (PR)