NOTICE | Modernizing business processes in the Marianas is key to recovery | Views section

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

Over the next two to five years, we will see major infrastructure upgrades, a new Northern Marianas College complex, a new Hopwood Junior High School facility, hundreds of new home construction and renovation projects, and more. typhoon recovery projects. In addition, a new Oleai sports complex, also financed by EDA, is included in the list of projects. The availability of resources and professional services is essential to accelerate the delivery of these important companies.

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

Timely receipt of the EDA grant will enable our government to hire additional qualified technical staff to work in the Economic Affairs Center and in the agencies. These resources will further build local capacity and encourage people with experience and expertise to stay on the islands and support our recovery efforts.

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

The creation of the Center for Economic Affairs 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. Facilitating the process of doing business in the islands will help.

Around 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 online platforms instead of going through traditional and complicated paperwork. They would like to get away from the long queues and going back and forth from office to office to get the necessary documents submitted.

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

For more information, visit GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, 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 Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. 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 Marianas for all residents.

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