The government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has estimated that its deficit for fiscal year 2011 could be between 15 million and 20 million US dollars.
Despite the high figure, it is still within the same range as last year's deficit of 18.6 million, based on Governor Benigno Fitial's annual report of December 2010.
The Lieutenant Governor, Eloy Inos, who handles government finances, says this will bring the CNMI's cumulative deficit to over 300 million, including unpaid obligations to the NMI Retirement Fund.
The government's revised 2011 budget of 122 million further went down to 102 million in 2012.
Cash shortfall has also resulted in delayed payroll for non-critical government employees.