Like all other states and territories, the CNMI Department of Finance is still waiting for the U.S. Department of the Treasury to put out guidelines on exactly how detailed or how they want the spending plan to be for the estimated $515 million that’s allocated to the CNMI under the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The information that we are using to come up with our spending plan is based on the American Rescue Plan Act’s details of where we can spend the money on and what our priorities are,” said Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig during a radio news briefing last Friday.
“So the details of that plan is not ready to be submitted to U.S. Treasury until the U.S. Treasury gives us guidance,” he said.
Right now, Atalig said, they are using the U.S. Treasury’s guidelines from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and the disaster relief bill until the new guidelines come out.
He said they have been meeting in the Executive Branch and will be having talks with the mayors on how to go with the allocations. They are also meeting with the CNMI Legislature’s leaders to discuss the allocations that they want for the community.
Atalig said they want to make sure that they spend these ARPA funds wisely. He said that, as he always share and advice, they should try to get the best return on the investment or the value from these funds. “When we spend on infrastructure, we want to make sure that these activities will generate or help in our recovery of our economy in a couple of years, so that we can have something to be sustainable for the future of the Commonwealth,” Atalig said.