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By Nick Legaspi

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 23, 1998 - CNMI News On-Line)---The federal government has remained silent on the request from the Northern Marianas government to waive or at least reduce the matching fund requirement for Covenant section 702 funding for capital improvement projects.

The CNMI has been trying to implement various construction projects to revive the economy, which is suffering from a drastic decline in visitor arrivals.

Insular Affairs Director Allen P. Stayman earlier reminded Governor Pedro P. Tenorio that he just received an $11 million grant for capital improvement projects.

In an interview yesterday, the Governor pointed out that the matching requirement was preventing the CNMI from utilizing the federal funds.

"It's not a grant; it's annual appropriation, authorization by the U.S. Congress for the CIP," Tenorio said. "He gave us $11 million but we need $11 million to match that, and as long as we don't have $11 million, that $11 million will be sitting doing nothing, so we need the help of the Interior Department to find a way that we could match the federal funds, either to match or the U.S. Congress will consider reducing the amount of match."

As of yesterday the Governor had not received any other response from Stayman and other federal officials.

"We'd like to see (it) because of the Asian crisis; everybody knows that almost all the Pacific area is under the crisis," he said, adding that he had not received any response from Stayman on the waiver request.

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

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