Saturday, October 17, 2009

Despite high freight cost, NMI farmers may still benefit from Guam military buildup

Despite high freight cost, NMI farmers may still benefit from Guam military buildup

Friday, 16 October 2009 00:00 By Raquel Bagnol - Reporter
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THE commonwealth should take advantage of government contracts for disadvantaged businesses to benefit from the military buildup on Guam.

This is one of the recommendations made by Project Management Operations LLC, a U.S.-based consultant of the CNMI government and the governor’s Strategic Economic Development Council.

The consultant prepared a 77-page draft document titled, “A Strategic Approach: Utilizing CNMI’s Natural Resources to Provide Complimentary Support to [Department of Defense] Guam.”

The high cost of freight from the CNMI to Guam, among other things, was raised in the comments and questions section of the draft document which pointed out that CNMI farmers may find it hard to compete for Department of Defense contracts against bigger competitors on Guam.

“The DoD will most likely not subsidize shipments from the CNMI, but there are some options available that CNMI should consider,” Project Management Operations said.

It added that the CNMI should take advantage of SBA HUBzone, 8a and Veteran designations.

The Small Business Administration HUBzone provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas.

SBA’s 8(a) business development program is created to help small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and get access the federal procurement market.

“This allows the CNMI businesses to go after government contracts set aside for disadvantaged businesses,” Project Management Operations said.

It said the commonwealth should come up with a packaged solution to the military to utilize training operations and allow the use of CNMI ports for transportation of goods to and from Guam.

The public has until tomorrow to comment on the 77-page draft document which can be accessed on the CNMI Department of Commerce Web site,

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