‘CNMI no longer experiencing shortage of goods due to pandemic’
Noting that the CNMI is no longer experiencing a shortage of goods caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres yesterday lifted the price freeze, about nine months after the CNMI closed its borders in mid-March.
“Whereas, the conditions necessitating a price freeze having now passed, it is appropriate to end the price freeze,” said Torres in an executive order yesterday that rescinds the amended Executive Order 2020-03.
The governor issued Executive Order 2020-03 on March 5, 2020, declaring a price freeze pursuant to the Commonwealth Disaster Price Freeze Act, and the declaration of major disaster and state of significant emergency. The following day, March 6, Torres amended the executive order and added to the list of items for which prices were frozen. The amended executive order states that the “price freeze shall last until rescinded, or until the declarations of emergency or disaster are terminated, whichever occurs first.”
In his latest executive order yesterday, Torres said that, nine months since first ordering the price freeze, many CNMI businesses have adapted new supply chains to bring products to the CNMI
With the ready availability of products, the threat of shortages and price gouging no longer threatens the community, he added.
The governor earlier disclosed that he had talked with Attorney General Edward Manibusan about the Saipan Chamber of Commerce’s request to lift the price freeze.
Torres’ Executive Order 2020-03 that declared the price freeze was meant to protect CNMI residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Torres had said that protecting the health and safety of CNMI residents includes protecting their ability to provide for their families during this unanticipated economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.