Creation of CEDA was Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ recommendation; bill gets support of Saipan Chamber of Commerce
The Senate unanimously passed on Tuesday a bill that will transform the Commonwealth Development Authority into the Commonwealth Economic Development Authority, strengthening the tools and powers of the CNMI government to promote and expand economic development on the islands.
All nine senators voted “yes” to pass House Bill 22-21, House Draft 1. The legislation will now go to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for his signature.
Senate floor leader Sen. Vinnie F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan) moved for the adoption of the committee report on the bill and for its passage. It was seconded. No discussion was made.
When asked for comments later, Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), who is the principal author of the legislation, said yesterday that the CEDA bill is a huge step forward for everyone who lives, works, and visits the Marianas.
“As we work hard to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, I am focused on working with my colleagues to reinvigorate the economy, seek new revenue, and create more jobs for our people,” Demapan said.
He thanked Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider and members of the Senate for their unanimous support of the bill.
Demapan also thanked the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, CDA, and the Department of Commerce for supporting the bill throughout the process.
With the CEDA bill now before Torres, Demapan is looking forward to seeing it enacted into law very soon.
The House unanimously passed the bill last March 25.
CDA’s current mandate does not include a proactive outreach and promotion of the CNMI as a location for private investment. Demapan earlier stated that the bill fixes this. He said the creation of CEDA establishes a central authority for the pursuit of the CNMI’s economic development priorities and is a step toward modernizing the way in which the CNMI economy grows.
It was the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers that recommended the transformation of CDA into CEDA.
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce also touted the bill as “truly a revenue generating legislation” that will provide the tools and authority to what would become CEDA and realize new diversified investments in the Commonwealth.