29 Dec 2008

CNMI suffers drop in local revenue

6:43 am on 29 December 2008

The Northern Marianas Department of Finance says local revenue for fiscal year 2008 is the lowest its been since 1994.

The Finance Secretary, Eloy Inos, says revenues and expenditures from 1986 to 2008, show the CNMI's local revenue for fiscal year 2008 was nearly 159 million US dollars.

He says this would be the lowest amount since 1994 when local revenue brought in 153 million dollars.

He says revenue reached its peak in 1997 at 243 million US dollars.

Mr Inos says in recent years, however, local revenues have reflected the decline in the CNMI's two major industries-tourism and the apparel industry.

He says local revenues fell from about 215 million dollars in fiscal year 2005 to an unaudited 158 million in 2008.

He says the decline in revenues has impaired the CNMI's ability to provide public services to citizens, including health, police protection, the Public School System, correctional facility and youth protective services.

Mr Inos also says the Government's inability to contribute fully to the Retirement Fund has prompted widespread concern as to the continued viability of the Retirement Fund.