RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES BAIL OUT OF STRUGGLING

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CNMI
Unemployment, economic stagnation forces outmigration

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Sept. 6, 2010) - Businesses in the Northern Marianas are starting to pack up and move away because of the financial uncertainty.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Island government is facing serious cash-flow problems which have developed following the collapse of the garment industry and a tourism downturn.

[PIR editor’s note: Islands Business reports that "the government’s unreserved fund deficit jumped from US$256.3 million in 2008 to US$300.8 million in 2009—amid unsuccessful attempts to curb expenses through legislation. This marks a 17.4 percent or US$44.5 million increase in just one year as expenses continued to exceed revenue collection."]

Most Government workers are unlikely to be paid on time this Friday, while the Department of Public Safety has just announced its cutting all non-essential policing services.

The proposed 2010-2011 Budget, which needs to be voted in by October the 1st, includes cost saving measures, such as cutbacks in the hours of work.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says the dire economic situation is forcing people and their businesses to the US mainland and Guam.

"The economy cannot move because regulations that would have served them haven’t been submitted and finalized yet by the Department of Homeland Security. So these are pending issues that haven’t been resolved yet and if you are a businessman here, you can’t move forward because you don’t want to make hasty decisions."

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