The government’s temporary 14-day shutdown due to a spike in community transmission of Covid-19 in December caused a ‘momentary delay’ in completing the spending report for the financial year 2021, the secretary said to Finance David DLG Atalig to the Legislative Assembly.
In its letter to President Edmund S. Villagomez and Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider, Atalig acknowledges the Governor’s duty to submit to the Legislature, pursuant to Section 1 CMC 7209, Review of Expenditures, a detailed comparison of amounts appropriated and amounts committed and spent. during the previous financial year, and the income identified and the income received during the previous financial year.
However, Atalig added, due to “the recent temporary 14-day government shutdown and staffing limitations in our department due to contact tracing and the requirement to isolate essential members of the department, the department foresees [a] late submission of the report.
But Atalig said his department, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, is “working diligently to expedite all efforts to ensure submission of the report for fiscal year 2021.”
He said the “momentary delay” in submitting the report will give Finance an opportunity to ensure an accurate representation of financial activities in fiscal year 2021.
He also told Villagomez and Hofschneider that the past fiscal year “has provided a series of challenges and opportunities for the CNMI.”
As the Commonwealth continued its efforts to stay safe amid the global pandemic, “we have also received the financial assistance needed to respond and recover,” he said, referring to financial assistance from the federal government.
“This unprecedented increase in funding support,” Atalig said, “has presented new responsibilities on the part of finance staff to track and monitor the spending and accounting of these funds.”
“In light of these increased duties and staffing limitations resulting from the pandemic, your understanding for this momentary delay is greatly appreciated,” Atalig told Speakers of the Legislative Assembly.
He promised that the expenditure report for the 2021 financial year would be submitted soon, this month.