2 Feb 2011

Northern Marianas senate again stalls moves to sell power utility

8:04 pm on 2 February 2011

The Northern Marianas' senate has recalled a controversial bill allowing the privatisation of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, saying the procurement process needs to be tightened.

This comes as the governor, Benigno Fitial, says the 250 million US dollar price tag placed on the Corporation remains a major stumbling block for investors, including those wanting to provide the territory with renewable energy.

Mr Fitial vetoed a similar bill last year because of senate amendments that included stricter procurement requirements.

The governor has also criticised the requirement for a five-member independent review panel to evaluate bids, saying this oversight is already handled by another government agency.

He says a new panel creates another unnecessary bureaucratic layer.