Saipan Casino Operator Contributed More Than $200 Million To CNMI Economy

Imperial Pacific International 'remains committed to investing $2 billion'

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 19, 2017) – Saipan casino investor Imperial Pacific International says since it began its on-island activities in 2014, it has contributed a total of $201,569,870.95 to the local economy. This represents combined payments of Business Gross Revenue Taxes, corporate income taxes, excise taxes, casino license fees, Commonwealth Casino Commission operation funds, donations and payroll withholding taxes, IPI said in a statement.

It said it remains committed to investing $2 billion in the CNMI as part of its 40-year exclusive license agreement with the central government.

The bulk of Imperial Pacific’s local contributions are BGRT payments, IPI said.

From 2015, 2016 and the first four months of 2017, it said the CNMI government collected a total of $77,641,710.12 — the largest Business Gross Revenue Tax payment in 10 years made by a single investor in the commonwealth, IPI said.

Of this amount, a total of $4,586,550.54 in BGRT was paid by Imperial Pacific in 2015 to the CNMI government.

In 2016, Imperial Pacific paid $48,020,146.86 in BGRT — the largest single source of revenue for the CNMI government in any given calendar year for the last 10 years, IPI said.

During the first four months of 2017 (January to April), Imperial Pacific remitted $25,035,012.72 in BGRT.

If this number holds for the next eight months of this year, IPI said the CNMI government stands to realize a 56 percent increase in BGRT tax collection from Imperial Pacific alone, or a total of $75,105,038.16 by the end of 2017.

On top of the business gross revenue tax, the island’s largest private-sector employer paid $29,965,886.77 in corporate income taxes, IPI said.

Of this amount, $24,515,886.77 was paid in 2016 while in the first four months of 2017 IPI said it paid $5.45 million.

Excise taxes, or import taxes from goods brought in by the investor totaled $6,958,127.54, IPI said.

From 2014 through the first four months of 2017, IPI said it remitted $64.75 million in casino license fees which ensure that retirees will get 100 percent of their monthly pension.

As of Jan. 31, 2017 there were 2,416 retirees on Saipan, 300 on Rota and 203 on Tinian.

Since Sept. 2014, IPI said the CNMI government has never failed to meet its pension obligation as a result of Imperial Pacific’s tax payments.

As for casino license fees, IPI said $31 million was paid in 2014 (advanced payment for year one and year five), and $15 million for 2015 and 2016. IPI also paid $3.75 million for the January-April period of 2017.

As part of its casino license agreement, Imperial Pacific must also provide funding for Commonwealth Casino Commission operations. Since 2015 to April 2017 a total of $4.5 million has been remitted by IPI to the commission.

In addition, IPI said a total of $11,124,553.35 was donated separately to the CNMI, and of this amount, $10 million funded free Commonwealth Utilities Corp. vouchers for all residents in 2014.

This is part of the community chest fund that Imperial Pacific has committed to the people of the commonwealth, IPI said.

IPI said its over 1,500 employees remitted $6,629,593.17 in payroll withholding taxes to the local treasury from 2015 to April 30, 2017.

IPI believes that its investment in the CNMI has revived confidence in the overall economic prospects of the CNMI, including its only industry, tourism.

Imperial Pacific said its “aggressive local and offshore marketing campaigns facilitated the growth in tourist arrivals.”

“As partners,” it added, “we can continue to actively look for new ways to improve the local economy and ultimately transform the islands into global destinations that offer world-class services and a friendly investment climate. We will also continue to provide new job opportunities that will further improve local living standards.”

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