The Saipan Chamber of Commerce separately met with the Commonwealth Development Authority and the Office of Planning and Development recently to provide input on how both agencies could help the local private sector, especially in the wake of the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu and how businesses can recover.
Chamber executive director Maxine Laszlo said the Chamber has been working with CDA on a possible loan program that could assist non-U.S. citizen-owned businesses.
“We’ve met with CDA where we talked about what are the challenges the business sector is facing right now,” she said. “One is being able to access loans for non-U.S. owned businesses. We’re working alongside with CDA to work on the program that people could avail of. It is slightly different from other programs…but it is specific with disaster recovery.”
The components of the potential program could benefit those non-U.S. citizen-owned businesses affected by Yutu.
“The [Chamber] appreciates the partnership we have with CDA, in asking for the private sector’s input. The CDA, they are working hard to solve the problem with potentially creating a program that would be made available to everybody,” said Laszlo.
She said that OPD, on the other hand, wants to make sure the perspective of the local private sector is taken into consideration when discussing the Commonwealth’s future.
The Chamber has also initiated a Business Recovery Coalition. “We talked about how it is really important that the business community recovers, to help us move forward, so as a community we try to apply for different grant funding…so we have data to back that up.”
Laszlo added that the local Commerce and Finance departments had helped them with data gathering. “And we would move forward to have more meetings to see what more steps were taken by our partners.”
The Chamber has also had an ongoing survey on the recovery status of their member businesses. “So…we’re able to advocate on your behalf on what your actual needs are. That’s why this survey is important,” said Laszlo.