By Admin on March 2017
TWIN ARROWS – Today during the Executive Branch Quarterly Strategic Session, President Russell Begaye signed a memorandum forming the Economic Zone Task Force.
The goal of the task force is to map out the entire Navajo Nation to identify economic development zones. The task force shall provide the required clearances, such as land withdrawals and environmental clearances, for these zones so the areas can be immediately available for development.
“We need this task force to identify economic zones that the Nation can feasibly move forward in developing. There have been numerous studies put into this and the data is available. What we need to do is integrate it all together. This is very important,” said President Begaye.
The task force was created during a panel discussion on Master Planning Economic Development Zones facilitated by directors from the Divisions of Economic Development (DED), Natural Resources (DNR), Transportation (NDOT), the Office of the Controller (OOC), Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), Community Development (DCD) and the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (NNEPA).
“President and I are asking this team to put forth an aggressive schedule of meetings where they will converge and present critical databases and core information pertaining to economic development,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said.
The creation of economic development zones have been prioritized by the Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP) to address the unemployment rate on the Nation, which is upward of 67 percent. The task force will consider all aspects of OPVP’s Four Pillars in creating these zones.
“We need to consider location, timing, feasibility, existing infrastructure databases and traffic studies,” said President Begaye. “Affecting areas of job creation, infrastructure beneficial to small business development, housing and educating our workforce will all start by creating these economic zones.”
The Economic Zone Task Force is comprised of: OPVP Executive Staff Assistant, Juan Massey; Executive Director of DED, Crystal Deschinny; Executive Director of DNR, Bidtah Becker; Department Manager of the Land Department with DNR, Mike Halona; Executive Director of NNEPA, Dr. Donald Benn; Executive Director of NDOT, Garrett Silversmith; and Deputy General Manager of NTUA, Rex Kontz.