17 Jun 2010

Urgent CNMI legislation needed to secure government pays

3:05 pm on 17 June 2010

The legislature of the Northern Marianas must pass a bill today that gives the Governor the authority to reprogramme funding so government workers are paid tomorrow.

The government needs at least three million US dollars to pay government employees' salaries in one pay period.

Officials say the funds to be reprogrammed would have to come from independent government agencies like the Marianas Public Land Trust, the Commonwealth Development Authority, and the Department of Public Lands, as the central government's coffers are empty.

If the Legislature fails to pass a reprogramming bill today, government employees including the governor, lieutenant governor, lawmakers, judges, and justices, along with all other officials and employees not directly involved in health or security won't be paid tomorrow.

This comes as the CNMI is under a state of emergency due to lack of fuel to run the power plants.

Funds had been reprogrammed to pay the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation to make immediate fuel purchases.