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NMI eyes $90M loan from FEMA

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THE CNMI government wants to borrow more than $90 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through its Community Disaster Loan program.

But because such loans cannot exceed $5 million, federal legislation is needed to remove the cap.

On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios met at the governor’s office and discussed how they could work together in obtaining a loan from FEMA.

In his e-newsletter, Kilili said the governor requested his assistance in introducing legislation in the U.S. Congress that would allow the Commonwealth to borrow more than $90 million through the  Community Disaster Loan program of FEMA.

 From left, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan pose for a photo at the governor’s office on Wednesday. Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate photo

On Friday, he said, the governor invited him to a meeting with FEMA Region 9 administrator Bob Fenton, Palacios, and other CNMI officials.

According to Kilili, “Community Disaster Loans are intended to help local governments facing funding shortfalls after a major disaster; and they may be canceled if revenues in the next three fiscal years still do not meet the needs of government operations. The loans are capped at $5 million, however, and the Commonwealth’s revenue losses from typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut are estimated at more than $90 million. Legislation is necessary to lift the cap.”

House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs Chairman Luis John Castro said it is good to hear that the governor and the delegate are working together.

He said it is “a good step in steering us into a better situation.”

Castro said he knows that the governor has been continuously working with FEMA in trying to secure needed funding to help the CNMI recover from Super Typhoon Yutu and cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said he is also aware that Kilili has been working hard in the nation’s capital to ensure that the Commonwealth gets federal assistance.

“With our leaders working together, I have high hopes that the Commonwealth will recover from these trying times,” Castro said.

  

 

 

 

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