The importance of planning


The senator representing Saipan has a very likeable idea that seems to suggest as the panacea for solutions and problem solving the basket of opportunities, strengths, threats, and weaknesses of the CNMI’s economy present and future endeavors. That is commendable, but what prompting such move must have been triggered by a credible source or our senator could no longer tolerate the uncertain ways our government is addressing the problems we have, and we could do better by way of planning in a Bureau of Planning or Planning Commission. Why not also consider establishing an office to deal with pubic policy before it makes its way to the Legislature for action. Such office may involve the Bureau of Public Policy Study. Then again, an office of Bureau of Pubic Litigation would be a perfect advocate and gatekeeper to keep and ensure the transparency of elected officials actions transparent that would ward off any and all corruptions that prey those in public offices.

Has our esteemed senator realized that our government has offices established to deal with matters relating to plans, planning, and public policy on the economy and economic development? The Department of Commerce, for example, was not established just to count for the consumer price index. This office serves a very important part that deals with the economy of the CNMI. If this office has not attained its saturation point, then the Bureau of Planning should rests well in this office. It would be a welcome undertaking for the Secretary of Commerce to assume this responsibility as its main core of work dealing with the economy. Everything about commerce is driven by the economy, and that should not be an impediment for this cabinet official to acknowledge full authority of this government function. So, it may be knee-jerk supposition after all, let us first settle the business of planning with the Department of Commerce.

Our economy is a small island tourist economy. It makes sense to include the business of planning concurrently with the Mariana Visitors Authority, Commonwealth Development Authority, Northern Mariana College, Commonwealth Port Authority, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Department of Finance, Department of Labor, and Department of Public Lands. Subject matter experts on plans and planning are all employed in these departments and public corporations. Is it necessary for the government to establish another bureaucratic office to handle public plans and planning when we already have plenty?

Before our Saipan senator makes any headway on plans and planning of the CNMI economy, it would be a matter of urgency to task the outgoing and newly appointed managing director of MVA for an assessment of where the CNMI stands as small island tourist economy in its Tourism Area Life Cycle. The life cycle of a small island tourist economy has a distinct development stages and follows a pattern that depict how the economy is growing, slowing, or stagnating based on many factors. This is an important first step, if the information and data could be ascertained for public policy and information purpose. This would also aid in assuring the elected officials in the legislature and governor’s office what plans and hopefully planning is necessary to continue the momentum going or shifting elements causing the retardation of economic development. You see, the life cycle of our tourism industry follow certain phases including: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, and decline or rejuvenation. A small island tourist economy follows a distinct life cycle, and it would be a critical part of the data and information that the senator from Saipan may value before pushing the idea to establish the Bureau of Planning Office as he seems to be suggesting.

Our small island tourist economy has its own value in pushing and pulling tourists from around the world where they find and enjoy spending their monies here. If the senator is fully schooled about our tourism industry, then has he caused to rely on data and public policy information from the MVA and Commerce about our tourism industry? Do we really know what our tourism industry comprised as a product. Saipan has been sharing a destination of sun, sea, sand, and sex, and in the next few years we might include drugs as a major attraction.

Does anyone credible in the government sector to provide information and data about: Clean and safe beaches, climate and weather, landscape and scenery, CNMI hospitality, accommodation services, exotic atmosphere, authentic indigenous culture, flora and fauna, local cuisine, safety and security, ethics, attractions, restaurants, value of money, water sports, political stability, epidemic-free location, modes of transportation, entertainment, ease of access to and from NMI, local beverages, arts and crafts, shopping opportunities, historical and cultural sites, technological advancement, land-based sports, fitness and wellness, night life, sports fishing, cultural sharing, and cooperation. These are important information and data if available. The senator would be pressed to know all these before deciding what plan and planning would be most appropriate for our small island tourist economy. Without information like these, the idea to plan for something has nowhere to go, and we end up with plans that planning never settles.

Planning is about problem. And, the important thing about a problem is not its solution, but the strength we gain in finding the solution. Progress in fact begins with getting a clear view of the obstacles. The capacity to plan and planning is full and abundant within the CNMI government, just do it. It is possible and a bureau for planning already exists, the principals are there.

Francisco R. Agulto
Kanat Tabla

Francisco R. Agulto

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.