Economist: Guam needs to expand industries
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 05:21
by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff
“THERE has to be more,” University of Guam’s resident economist Dr. M. Claret Ruane said of the need to diversify the island’s economy and build further stability aside from deep dependence on the tourism industry, U.S. military presence and the local economy.
Ruane, alongside UOG president Dr. Robert Underwood, provided closing commentary at the recent Guam Community and Economic Development Forum: Strategies for a Sustainable Future.
“An event of this magnitude, which is an initial event, leaves a lot of questions unanswered,” Underwood said in his closing remarks. “The nature of the event is to find the questions that should be answered, and those questions are very deep and far reaching and they require a lot of data.”
Ruane discussed some components of “The Making of the Pacific Tiger: Lessons from the Celtic Tiger,” which was also co-authored by UOG’s dean of the School of Business and Public Administration Dr. Anita Borja-Enriquez, and current law student at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law Vanessa Lee Williams.
The six strategies proposed in “The Making of the Pacific Tiger” include the continuation of openness toward global markets and foreign investment; further investment in human capital focused on education, skill building and training; ensuring the availability of a creative and productive workforce; pursuance of public sector reform and fiscal discipline; engaging in effective policymaking to guide development; and enduring through hard work and sacrifice.
“This event has provided the opportunity to discuss issues and explore solutions. We are planning for our future together,” Ruane said, referring to the economic development forum. “The Guam economy has a lot of promise for growth but has not really achieved its potential since 1996.”
Ruane added that although tourism will likely remain a strong component of the local economy, it remains undiversified.
“This is a beautiful island with a lot of human and natural resources, with a lot of talent; and yet, not reaching its potential for growth. I think that’s a sad story to tell,” Ruane said. “We should be asking: What can I do to propel this economy forward given all the resources that we have and the resources that we can develop together?”
Discussing the issue of how to develop the island, Ruane said, “Whatever the answer is we have to do it together. We are a community.”
The UOG economist also reiterated the need to allocate resources in order to achieve initiatives such as cultural preservation and diversification of the local economy.
“Culture and environment are important issues, but they are a luxury. You need resources to protect them and preserve them,” she said. “If these things are important to us, they should be reflected in the budget. We should be getting resources to support these things.”