Governor establishes Council of Economic Advisers

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Tuesday signed Executive Order 2020-11 to establish a Council of Economic Advisers to replace the Strategic Economic Development Council.

The new council will be chaired by Jerry Tan of Tan Holdings and its members are: Sen. Frank S. Borja, Rep. Ivan A. Blanco, Michael S. Sablan of Triple J,  Roman “Bo” T. Palacios of Joeten, economic consultant Matthew Deleon Guerrero, Masato Tezuka of Tasi Tours, Alex Sablan of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp., businessman Joe C. Guerrero, Don J. Power of Tinian-based FPA Pacific Corp., Marcie M. Tomokane of the Bank of Guam,  Alex B.K. Youn of Star Sands Plaza and I Love Saipan, Aubry Hocog of Rota, and Gary Sword of KKMP radio station.

Members of the new council will serve as economic advisors to the governor “at no expense to the CNMI government.”

Co-chaired by the governor or his designee and a representative from the business sector handpicked by the governor himself, the council will serve in multiple facets, including establishing policy initiatives for economic growth, providing exemplary management of the CNMI economy, and alleviating any barriers toward business development and growth.

The council will also assist the Office of Planning and Development, under the Office of the Governor, with the formulation of the CNMI Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan.

Responsibilities of the new council also include reviewing all proposed regulations relating to increases in business fees and rules that affect the economy, as well as providing an analysis of the proposed impact to the private sector.

Furthermore, the council is expected to create detailed reports to advance beneficial policy initiatives in the Commonwealth, and convene at least once every three months.

Members will be appointed by the governor, and will represent multiple government agencies as well as the private sector, to encompass the Commonwealth economy. Any removal of members will come either at the discretion of the governor, or by vote of the council members.

An executive director of the council, who will also serve without compensation, will likewise be appointed by the governor to administer the governor’s executive order, provide strategic direction for the duties of the councils, and report to the council co-chairs.

The Office of the Attorney General has been designated to act as legal counsel to this council.

Torres has authorized the council to have access to department and agency heads, so long as a co-chair submits a written request to the department or agency, and receives a response within 10 working days.

The council is also authorized to include department or agency heads in council meetings, so long as a written request is made to the department or agency detailing the topics up for discussion, and a response is received within 10 working days.

All government departments and agencies are directed by the governor to fully support and cooperate with the council and its executive director with the enactment of the directive.

Any and all proposed regulations that pertain to increased fees or the impact thereof are to be provided to the council prior to publication in the Commonwealth Register.


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