Up to $65M bond eyed for pension benefits


The CNMI government is looking to float a bond for up to $65 million that is specifically for the benefits of retirees.

Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon that the CNMI government is starting to look at their bond options to finance retiree benefits for at least a year.

“We had a teleconference with our…bond consultants and our bond issuers with the Moody’s bond rating company…and the conference call went very well. We answered a lot of questions regarding our economic state and our current finances,” said Finance Secretary David Atalig Thursday.

“We also discussed where we are going in the future and what we’ve done to maintain our finances. …We were struggling after [Super] Typhoon Yutu as we see in our financials the effects of that storm and what it did to our economy,” he added.

Atalig said he is expecting to get the bond ratings within 10 to 14 days and float a bond for up to $65 million by mid-December.

“This will take care of all settlement fund debt that we…owe for fiscal year 2017 to the tune of $17.6 million, which has [added] to our current deficit in our last audit,” he said.

He assured that the $65 million would be enough for a full year of payment to the Settlement Fund.

Atalig said that floating a bond is in line with the Torres administration’s strategy of relieving its annual payments to the Settlement Fund.

“… [This] will allow us to use available resources to take care of our current deficits and obligations that came upon us in the last two fiscal years,” he said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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