Qualifying certificate program reform in the works
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) believes the CNMI government and its leadership must make the most of the current “downtime” in tourism and the economy to make the CNMI ready when the economy starts picking up again.
Toward this end, Demapan hopes that his House Bill 22-70, or the Investment Incentive Act of 2021, which outlines updates to the CNMI’s qualifying certificate program, will receive positive reception similar to his bill that created the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority that was enacted last May 20.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed the CEDA bill on March 25 and May 18, respectively, and it became law last June 7 during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Airport Road construction project.
With Torres making the formation of the new CEDA and its capabilities now a public law, Demapan, the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, and CEDA are now working on updating the CNMI’s qualifying certificate program through H.B. 22-70.
In an interview with Demapan after the CEDA bill enactment, he said, “I’m hoping to get the support again of the House and the Senate to move that bill forward, because that would really be an added tool to the new CEDA, to recalibrate the QC program to make sure that new investors—and for the first time in history, current longstanding businesses—can build this program to expand and build bigger projects and investments in preparation for the return of our economy.”
According to a press release that Demapan’s office issued last June 4, the qualifying certificate program needs to be reformed to “keep current with changing dynamics in the competitive market for American investment and to provide greater resources to the CNMI’s development entity.”