A Rota senator wants to “entrust” the Department of Public Lands the authority to negotiate on flexible terms regulations that include fees and rental income.
During discussions on a communication from the DPL regarding the encroachment of business establishments within 150 feet of the high water mark, Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota), said DPL should be allowed to negotiate basic rentals and fees as provided in DPL regulations to take into consideration the varying economic conditions and other relevant factors.
He noted that a few investors lost interest on Rota after learning that there was a $100,000 fee required to issue a request for proposal, which is usually the starting point of establishing a business in the CNMI.
He noted that Saipan economic conditions differ from that of Rota and Tinian’s, further calling for the need for negotiations.
“How can we develop a Rota hotel or a dilapidated facility…if we are going to impose similar conditions? On Saipan investors are lining up, so we need to have these detailed regulations,” he said, adding that his Senate Bill 20-101, which is currently at the Senate Committee on Resources, Economic Development, and Programs for review. Sen. Francisco Borja (R-Tinian) chairs the committee.
“In order to encourage investors to come down to Rota, we need to give them some incentive,” he said, emphasizing that he did not want to “throw away all the regulations” for that purpose.
“We should entrust the secretary with a little flexibility,” he added.
Manglona noted that with the many challenges Rota faces, such as the constant troubles of air travel, high shipping costs, and lack of infrastructure, the investors reportedly told him that they would rather funnel their money somewhere more convenient.
“If we do not have some kind of incentives that are available, we are never going to get these interested investors,” he said.