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Covenant Day marks 46 years of a strong relationship between the NMI and the U.S.

Friday, March 25, 2022

On March 24, 1976, the U.S Government signed the agreement known as the Covenant Agreement that allowed the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) to a joint political alliance with the United States, but with a twist – the right to local self-government. Since then, the NMI has since observed March 24 as Covenant Day. This year, the NMI will celebrate 46 years of a historical event that has forever changed the NMI.

Many of us residents were present for the Covenant signing, which has fulfilled our need to be part of a nation with shared goals and values found in the American system of government and based upon the principles of government by the consent of the governed, individual freedom, and democracy. The Covenant outlines an important relationship between the Northern Marianas and the United States.

One of the most important contributions of the Covenant for our people is the granting of U.S. Citizenship to the citizens of the Commonwealth. A great deal of benefits accrues to the people and government of the CNMI under the Covenant including social, economic, and capital infrastructure benefits.

We’ve achieved a higher standard of living because of the federal monetary contributions to the CNMI government that helps fund social, economic, environmental, and capital programs. The CNMI’s investment environment is pro-business development including private-foreign investment.

In 2021, the Senate unanimously passed House Bill 22-21 (PL 22-01) which transformed the Commonwealth Development Authority into the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority (CEDA). The PL 22-01 bill has helped strengthen the implementation and capacity of the CNMI government to promote and expand economic development on the islands that is driven by the needs and the desires of the community. Economic development will be a top priority of our government in the years ahead.

Essentially, CEDA’s role moving forward is to serve as the primary driving force to plan, implement, and foster greater economic development. CEDA continues to focus its efforts on addressing issues that hamper economic development. It will also work to make the CNMI a highly competitive business and investment environment for private investment and technological advancement.

Let us all be reminded when celebrating Covenant Day that the people and government of the CNMI are the beneficiaries of all the positive attributes from the Covenant.

Wishing you and your families a Happy Covenant Day!

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

By Manuel A. Sablan

Manny Sablan is the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority and is an experienced economist and planner in government service with 12 years of banking services and economic development and five years in planning and budget affairs. Manny Sablan holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance. Manny Sablan is a Development Economist (recipient of United Nations Fellowship Grant) and holder of Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics minor in Business Administration from Rockhurst College, Kansas City, Missouri.

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