FINANCE Secretary David DLG Atalig on Friday said the CNMI government’s new financial management information system, Munis, will allow for more fiscal transparency, and will help get things done quicker and better.
Munis replaced an archaic system that no longer has technical support or software updates, he added.
Atalig said the CNMI government also plans to acquire a comprehensive enterprise resource system that will help investors conduct business with the government online, such as applying for a business license or submitting corporate documents.
He said the goal is to have all permitting agencies work together, see the same information, communicate and expedite projects that need applicable permits and licenses, and allow businesses to pay fees online.
Atalig said the government will issue a request for proposals for a revenue or tax management information system upgrade, and for a CNMI valuation study in order to know the true economic value of the Commonwealth and not just the value of its real estate or real properties.
The U.S. Department of the Interior-Office of Insular Affairs recently awarded the CNMI Department of Finance $363,736 for the creation of this valuation report.
In July, Secretary Atalig said the last bond that the CNMI issued used an evaluation based on a 2000 Census and it valued the Commonwealth at $1.2 billion.
“As we all know, the Commonwealth is worth more than $1.2 billion,” Atalig added.
Prior to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth was looking into floating a pension obligation bond, which, Atalig said, was one of the factors that triggered the need for an updated evaluation of the value of CNMI government properties, as well as the value of the Commonwealth in general.
He said there is a need to show investors that the Commonwealth is much more valuable today than it was over two decades ago.
“Our debt-to-value ratio is a lot better,” he added.
Atalig said it will take about two years for this study to be completed, given the amount of data that will have to be collected.
He said the study will, among other things, determine the value of real estate transactions as well as the appraised value of government property, buildings, and assets.
It will also include an evaluation of economic values, the islands’ natural resources, including the Northern Islands and the lands leased to the U.S. military, Atalig said.
“It’s going to be comprehensive,” he added.
Once the current true value of the Commonwealth is determined, it will be updated every few years, Atalig said.