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CDA board should be allowed to meet by phone or online, official says

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AMID the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commonwealth Development Authority is “striving to help and assist new and existing small businesses survive,” CDA Executive Director Manuel A. Sablan told lawmakers.

In a letter to Sen. Sixto Igisomar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government, Law and Federal Relations and Rep. Joel Camacho, chairperson of the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations, Sablan is requesting an amendment to Public Law 4-49, which prohibits CDA from meeting electronically.

Sablan said despite the lockdown and limitations imposed by the emergency declaration, CDA is reaching out to the community. Through public notices and social media, it offers payment relief, funding and technical assistance, Sablan added.

“New borrowers are willing to take risks to embark on new business ventures despite the adversities that this pandemic brings. We have accommodated smaller requests, which fall under my discretion,” Sablan said.

But bigger funding requests require deliberation and action by the CDA board of directors.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the CNMI, the CDA board members were able to attend meetings physically as needed and when there’s a quorum, Sablan told the lawmakers.

CDA board members from Rota and Tinian, he added, could travel to Saipan to attend the meeting as there were daily inter-island flights.

But Sablan said this has changed as flights are now very limited, making it difficult for the board to meet when necessary.

Sablan is asking Igisomar and Camacho that their respective committees propose an amendment to P.L. 4-49 to allow the CDA board to telephonically or virtually appear and participate in  board meetings.

“We hope that you will give this matter your utmost attention. As of right now, we have urgent matters to undertake and loan requests pending the board’s decision,” Sablan said.

 

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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