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By Nick Legaspi

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (September 7, 1998 - CNMI News On-Line)---The austerity program that Governor Pedro P. Tenorio adopted when he began his four year term last January has saved the government about $12 million in travel and other expenses compared to last year.

This year the government is also in a situation where revenues continue to decline because of the impact of the Asian economic crisis.

The Governor’s senior financial advisor, Mike Sablan, said in a meeting with the Society of Professional Journalists on Friday that cost-cutting measures were adopted to cope with the $34 million deficit that the administration inherited.

In addition to travel, other areas where the austerity measures were applied were on professional services, personnel, utilities, vehicles, and communications.

Sablan said the government reduced overtime expenses within the Executive Branch by 23 percent while communications expenses went down by 83 percent and vehicles by 10 percent. He assured that the administration was on the right track as far as the austerity program is concerned.

Sablan said the administration would do its best to reduce the deficit which, under the Constitution, must be retired within two years. Considering the state of the CNMI economy, however, it is very unlikely that the administration could wipe out the deficit before the end of Tenorio’s term.

It may be recalled that when he left government service after two terms as governor, Tenorio left the next administration a $21 million surplus.

©1998 CNMI News On-Line, Northern Mariana Islands For more information call Nick Legaspi or Lewy Tenorio at TEL: (670) 234-7239

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