CNMI faces budget cuts following typhoons

12:14 pm on 18 February 2019

The Northern Marianas government has signalled budget cuts in the next financial year as the territory recovers from two typhoons.

A school building is damaged after Super Typhoon Yutu

A school building is damaged after Super Typhoon Yutu Photo: RNZ Pacific / Mark Rabago

Following damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut last year, Governor Ralph Torres has proposed a 10 percent reduction for all government agencies and departments for 2020.

Yutu slammed into Saipan and Tinian in late October, while Mangkhut struck Rota in September.

Yutu was the strongest storm system to hit any part of the US last year, bringing unparalleled destruction to the islands and forcing the main airport on Saipan to close because of major damage.

The territory's main economic driver - tourism - was affected, with visitor numbers plummeting to zero in the weeks following Yutu.

The CNMI budget in the 2019 financial year, which ends on 30 September, was a record-high of $US258,139,107.

This was $US11.2 million higher than the $US247 in the 1997 year at the peak of the Commonwealth's two major revenue sources, garments and tourism.

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