Chamber discusses investment missions with House

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“WHAT else can we tap into other than the federal government?” asked Rep. Sheila Babauta during a dialogue on Monday between members of the House of Representatives and the Saipan Chamber of Commerce.

Alex Sablan

Chamber board member Alex Sablan responded by stating that at the end of the day, the limiting factor is the Commonwealth’s workforce.

“I think collectively, this body, the Senate, and the administration have looked at many different facets… Cybersecurity is one group that is coming in. We have heard other ideas of people wanting to set up shop here. This is to resolve the age-old problem in America, which is the graveyard shift,” Sablan said.

“The hope is that we can lure more of these firms by grabbing the first one, and then people seeing that it is actually working here,” Sablan stated.

He said an interested firm wants to utilize federal funds to help train locals.

The CNMI’s qualifying certificate program, which offers tax incentives, can also help entice potential investors, he added.

Sablan said new investments can boost wage levels and improve the islands’ overall economic condition.

Those are among the benefits of having them here, he added.

The main beneficiaries will be the youth, especially the college graduates and other residents of the CNMI who can be hired for “higher echelon paying jobs,” Sablan said.

“We want to go out and do these investment missions that can bring these types of investors here…. What I am proposing is that we get the entities that are responsible…and let us write these packages around the qualifying certificate opportunities that we can offer potential investors in an investment mission.”

Chamber executive director Maxine Laszlo noted that while tax incentives are available, “in general, it is very difficult to, logistically, do business here.”

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