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Finance chief: NMI still has PUA funds

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SECRETARY of Finance David DLG Atalig said the CNMI still has funding for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

“There is no actual ceiling,” said Secretary Atalig, referring to the funds.

During a press briefing Friday on KKMP radio, he said: “As we see the need and requests, as the Department of Labor adjudicates different applications, we have the estimates from the time of award or time of acceptance all the way to Dec. 30.”

The initial projection for this program was $240 million of PUA and FPUC payments, he added.

Atalig said similar to the stimulus check payment, if there are more applicants than initially projected, a simple request to the U.S. Department of Labor showing the data will result in additional funds.

He said the latest pay date was on Sept. 8, which was when Finance drew down the downloaded data for payout.

“Those are the ones that are being scheduled for release on Monday, [today],” he added.

Covid response and tax refunds

Secretary Atalig said he had to utilize a lot of cash reserves and different accounts to deal with the pandemic, especially in the early stages of the CNMI response to Covid-19.

“A lot of resources were used. I’m expecting a reimbursement of close to $10 million from [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] as the first batch. I’m also receiving the initial $5 million from the FEMA Community Disaster Loan, which was approved. We’re just waiting for the deposit on that, as well as other FEMA reimbursements,” he said.

He also said a $6.2 million reimbursement from FEMA is likewise expected for Super Typhoon Yutu expenses.

Atalig said, “These reimbursements coming in will be reinstated to different accounts that I had to access in order to make…payments. Those are the funding sources that I’m waiting for. I’ve been in good communications with [FEMA’s] Public Assistance Office for some of these reimbursements, as well as with FEMA’s Community Disaster Loan group out of Washington [D.C.]. Those are all coming in the pipeline and that’s the source of funding that I have to get to pay CNMI [tax] refunds.”

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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