The CNMI Department of Commerce announced yesterday that there will be a presentation of the CNMI’s newly developed Economic Model on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, at 6pm at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center. The purpose of the presentation is to explain the newly developed Economic Model and its practical uses for the CNMI.
As part of its mandates, Commerce is tasked with providing regular reports regarding the economic condition of the CNMI. Historically, Commerce, through its Central Statistics Division, has issued the Consumer Price Index and Economic Indicators as a means to measure economic health. In 2007, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in collaboration with the CNMI government, issued the first CNMI Gross Domestic Product measures. Subsequent to the 2007 release, the BEA released an updated GDP estimate for 2010.
“Commerce has been working diligently to provide as much economic data as possible to policy makers and the general public in an effort to gauge the CNMI’s economic health. While we have been successful in updating information on the historical economic health, the CNMI has lacked an appropriate forecasting model [that] is primarily intended to help predict the economic impact of a particular policy or project,” said Commerce Secretary Sixto K. Igisomar. “For this reason, we requested to utilize grant funds made available through the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs to hire an economic adviser to develop the CNMI’s Economic Model.”
The contractor made a presentation to the Office of the Governor earlier this year to discuss data gaps that exist and the impacts of those data gaps on the economic model. Despite the data gaps, the contractor has been able to develop an economic model that will be able to decipher employment, income, and output effects of particular projects or policy decisions. The CNMI’s 1999 model, which was developed by Dick Conway & Malcom McPhee, is outdated and does not reflect current economic conditions, including the exit of the garment industry and changes to wage structure in the CNMI.
According to Igisomar, the newly developed economic model will aid the CNMI’s policy makers and economic development agencies in their contemplation of important programs, including the Qualifying Certificate program.
“With the completion of the economic model, economic development agencies will be better poised to assess multiplier impacts of various projects or business proposals seeking to gain tax incentives,” said Igisomar.
According to Commerce’s project manager, Mark Rabauliman, “since we are unable to conduct this presentation on Tinian and Rota, we will make the presentation available for viewing on the department’s website. We will also be able to answer any questions that residents on Tinian and Rota may have about the presentation.” (Office of the Governor)