Friday, September 30, 2022
As the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers (GCEA) finishes its second year of activities, the task at hand for the Council, the government, and the Marianas community is to work collaboratively toward the next era of possibilities for the economy and our lives here on these islands. GCEA has put itself forward in advancing this critical conversation through the development and continued refinement of its 10-year plan.
The Council gathered ideas and solutions for the wide range of challenges the Marianas is facing, from economic recovery in the post-pandemic world to long-standing challenges related to business growth and diversification and drafted its 10-year plan. GCEA organized its membership into eight Planning Committees that focused on specific issues such as sustainability, small business development and retention, government services, and workforce development, among others. Discussions about these issues in the Planning Committees result in an analysis of root causes and proposals for actions by the government, community organizations, and the private sector.
To achieve GCEA's goal of promoting the development of the Marianas as a world-class tourist destination and improving the quality of life for residents of these islands, key highlights of the effort include:
I. Enhancing the resources and capabilities of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority (CEDA) through statutory amendments that will permit the establishment of investment incentives for targeted industries, locations, or facilities.
II. Realigning responsibilities and authorities relating to the management and maintenance of primary tourist sites, placing duties and resources toward focused management of key locations.
III. Establishing the framework for all stakeholders to collaborate toward assessing the Marianas permitting and regulatory system to promote greater cohesion in government services while easing the administrative burden of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
At its core, the 10-year plan is intended to be an iterative process in which new ideas are added to the blueprint for achieving higher levels of sustainable growth for the economy. This includes increasing opportunities for residents to benefit from a strong and vibrant community. Currently, the plan contains 37 action items that cover the short, medium, and long-term goals that GCEA sees as achievable for the Marianas. Discussions are ongoing, with events like the 2022 Friends of Small Business Summit adding to the diversity of ideas that should be brought to the table.
The challenges facing the Marianas’ economy are significant. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed our community's progress and impacted our entrepreneurs' plans and goals. However, working to recover our economy and grow it to new heights of responsible and sustainable levels is possible. It will require all stakeholders to bring their ideas to the table and see them realized.
The Council is honored to mark its second anniversary with the launch of the Marianas School Pride program. We are proud to be working with the CNMI’s youth to improve the quality of their experiences at the school level. You can find out more about the exciting contests and activities we have planned for students this school year on our refreshed website at cnmieconomy.com.
The work that we do continues to be an investment in the future of the Marianas. We invite you to join the movement to improve life in the Marianas. Together, We Can!
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Matthew Deleon Guerrero
Matthew Deleon Guerrero is a Saipan-based economist serving as the Chairman of the GCEA's Fiscal Economic Diversification Committee, an advisory council to the Governor. Matt has served as an economics instructor at the Northern Marianas College and holds a Master’s Degree in Economics. The GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in The Marianas for all residents.