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$15M MPLT loan used to reimburse government’s Yutu spending

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THE $15 million that the CNMI government borrowed from the Marianas Public Land Trust was used to reimburse the general fund for payments made to the vendors that were contracted during  the Super Typhoon Yutu recovery efforts.

In a report, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said the CNMI government has received the maximum $15 million loan from MPLT as allowed by Public Law 21-3.

Authored by Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao, P.L. 21-3, as amended by P.L. 21-6 states that the loan “shall be used to pay emergency disaster relief and recovery expenses incurred by the Commonwealth as a result of the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yutu including reimbursement of such expenses that have been paid by the Commonwealth.”

The law also required the Finance secretary to submit a quarterly summary report on the MPLT loan.

The CNMI government entered into a $15 million loan agreement with MPLT on Sept. 6, 2019.

On Sept. 16 and Sept. 20, 2019, MPLT transferred to the CNMI government $7.5 million and $2.5 million.

On April 17, 2020, the CNMI government received an additional drawdown of $5 million.

The Finance secretary said the Yutu recovery expenses were “primarily related to heavy equipment rental, repairs and maintenance, and purchases of machinery, tools, and equipment totaling $20,210,902.

Atalig also submitted the list of vendors contracted by the government during the typhoon recovery period.

MPLT said the loan was an advance from future interest due to the CNMI government. Instead of MPLT distributing the interest to the government’s general fund on an annual basis, the $15 million due to the general fund will remain in MPLT’s investment portfolio as additional capital infusion that will generate more interest for MPLT.

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