The government of the Northern Marianas has suggested it does not have the finances to provide tax rebates for the 1,000 workers laid off by Concorde Garment Manufacturing.

"The government's financial situation is well known and we continue to struggle to release rebate cheques, but every effort is being made to properly address tax rebates," presidential press secretary Charles Reyes was reported by AFP as saying.

Reyes blamed the combination of a lethargic economy - partly because of the shrinking clothing manufacturing sector - and reduced tourism.

According to the Northern Marianas' tax system, 90% of taxes are given back to employees at the end of every fiscal year.

Concorde's ex-labourers, many of whom travelled from China to take up their positions, are demanding they get their rebates before they travel back home.

Some of the rebates date back as far as 2002 according to AFP.