NOTICE | Modernization of business processes in the Marianas is key to recovery | Views


At the end of August, we received the good news that the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded a $ 19.6 million grant to CNMI’s Finance Department. The grant will be used to build a new economic business center for the Marianas and to acquire a new financial management information system for the DOF.

Over the next two to five years, we’re going to see significant infrastructure improvements, a new Northern Marianas College complex, a new Hopwood Junior High School facility, hundreds of new home construction and renovation projects and other typhoon recovery projects. In addition, a new Oleai sports complex, also funded by EDA, is on the list of projects. Having the resources and professional services in place to expedite the delivery of these important projects is essential.

In the Mariana Islands, starting construction projects or opening new businesses can be difficult due to the lengthy process to complete all requirements, especially in the licensing process. In collaboration with the Office of Infrastructure and Recovery Program, the Office of Planning and Development, the Finance Department and other relevant government offices, the establishment of the Center for Economic Affairs and the development of a coordinated system and modernized to manage business transactions streamline authorization, procurement and contract management processes.

Timely receipt of the EDA grant will allow our government to hire additional qualified technical staff to work at the economic business center and agencies. These resources will further strengthen local capacity and encourage those with experience and expertise to stay on the islands and contribute to our recovery efforts.

As we continue to work hard on tourism resumption efforts and prepare for the safe return of our tourists and business visitors, it is important that we do our best to get projects started as early as possible and bring back people at work, helping workers meet the needs of their families and get our economy back on track.

The establishment of the Economic Business Center will also play an important role in our efforts to promote economic diversification in the Marianas. The Commonwealth Economic Development Authority, the main agency responsible for promoting the Marianas as an investment destination, needs an edge to persuade legitimate investors. Making the process of doing business on the islands easier will help.

At this time and long after, businesses will be looking for ways to save time and money when starting a new business. They would prefer to use the online platforms instead of going through the traditional and complicated red tape. They would like to avoid the long lines and going back and forth from office to office to obtain the necessary documents.

The EDA grant and the projects it will support will help accelerate local recovery efforts, mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, and deliver these long overdue services. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. Most importantly, we have just received the resources we need to bounce back and improve the quality of life for the people of the Marianas.

For more information, visit the GCEA at, on Facebook and Instagram (@ cnmigov.economy), or contact them at [email protected]

Mike Sablan is vice chairman of Triple J Enterprises Inc. and chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors ‘Council of Economic Advisors’ Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee. As an advisory board to Governor Ralph DLG Torres and Lieutenant Governor Arnold I. Palacios, GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Mariana Islands for all residents.

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