FROM: Economic Diversification Committee, Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers
TO: Governor Ralph DLG Torres and Chairman Jerry Tan
SUBJECT: The creation of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority
The Council found that the Commonwealth economy requires a renewed focus on economic development and diversification to provide jobs, and economic opportunity to a community that has beleaguered with natural disasters, global crisis, and the lingering impacts of the wide-spread collapse of the manufacturing sector that has resulted in volatilities inherent within an undiversified economy.
The Council recommends that a targeted focus of a single governmental entity to plan for and implement efforts to cultivate a stronger more diversified economy for the Commonwealth is necessary in establishing competitiveness against locations vying for global investments.
The Commonwealth Development Authority, since its establishment through the Commonwealth Development Authority Act of 1984, has succeeded in its statutory mandate over the course of the last 36 year. However, as global and regional economic landscapes change and industries evolve, we have found a need to amend the statutory language for the challenges of the 21st Century.
The Council recommends the establishment of the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority to take the place of the Commonwealth Development Authority in becoming the primary agency tasked with the economic development of the Commonwealth, and to be empowered to undertake this mandate with the flexibility to become proactive in the pursuit of industries and investments that will strengthen the CNMI economy.
Key components of this change would be to empower the Commonwealth government to have a single entity entrusted with the responsibility to:
· Assist in the development of the economic development plan for the Commonwealth, and control and implement that part of the plan assigned to it by the Governor of the CNMI.
· Be responsible for actively promoting the CNMI as a location for private investment.
· Promote and encourage the CNMI and development of new businesses within the Commonwealth, as well as promote the retention and expansion of existing businesses.
· Promote and encourage the expansion and development of market for the products of the CNMI and to encourage the establishment of commercial linkages of CNMI products within the CNMI tourism industry.
· Coordinate, develop, and participate in off-island investor missions to generate interest and investment in the CNMI, with emphasis on business investments from the United States of America.
Concurred by the Members of the Economic Diversification Committee
Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers