The Strategic Economic Development Council has been abolished and the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers was created in its place.
In an executive order yesterday, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres placed the council within the Executive Branch, with an advisory role to the governor. It is tasked to formulate policy initiatives to encourage economic growth in the CNMI, provide for the management of the economy, and eliminate barriers for business development and growth.
Torres named late yesterday the 14 members of the council, with TanHoldings chief executive officer Jerry Tan as the designated chairman. The other members of the council are Sen. Frank S. Borja (R-Tinian), Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan), Michael S. Sablan, Roman “Bo” T. Palacios, Matthew Deleon Guerrero, Masato Tezuka, Alex Sablan, Joe C. Guerrero, Don J. Power, Marcie M. Tomokane, Alex B.K. Youn, Aubry Hocog, and Gary Sword. The appointments do not require the advice and consent of the Legislature.
All appointees will serve on the council without pay. An executive director, who will be responsible for running the council, will also be appointed and shall not be paid.
Speaking on the radio yesterday, the governor said that he had a preliminary meeting with his Economic Recovery team last Monday to set the framework on the work that the council will have to do. “Some of the discussion that was done on Monday was, [for the] advisory council to look at opportunities and into what is available out there, under the CARES Act and other stimulus funds. …I look forward to them maximizing all the opportunities,” he added.
The council will also give recommendations to the governor on issues relating to the administration of the Executive Branch and its departments and agencies, and will help the Office of Planning and Development in creating the CNMI Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan.
The council will review proposed regulations pertaining to increases in business fees and rules that affect the economy and provide an analysis of their impact on the private sector. It would also advise the governor on the status of the economy and its direction. It will create detailed reports and meet at least once every three months. The governor will provide the council access to department and agency heads. The Office of the Attorney General shall serve on the council as legal counsel and resource for the council’s functions.