The administration has often declared its strong support of the private sector and publicizes how it has streamlined the business licensing process.
But information in the Department of Commerce 1st quarter performance report for Fiscal Year 2017 says a government group which reviews business license applications from foreigners wishing to set up in the territory hasn’t been active.
DOC says the Territorial Planning Commission has been :entirely inactive the past few quarters and has had no quorum meetings.
Without an active TPC quorum, the Director of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele has approved 9 non resident business licenses so as not to prolong business license applications from October to December, 2016.
TPC is established by law and its mandate includes:
- to review and approve a comprehensive general plan for the future development of the territory and make a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature following public hearings;
- to initiate a review of the provisions of the zoning law and to make a report of its findings and recommendations based on the comprehensive general plan;
- to hold public hearings on elements of amendments to, and the total comprehensive general plan to review public opinion;
- to prepare revisions annually as needed coinciding with the fiscal year;
- to prepare necessary documents for the governor and Legislature summarizing the highlights and the budget implications, if any, of the comprehensive general plan.
The comprehensive general plan may be concerned particularly with industrial, commercial or agricultural development; with education, social services, housing, essential fire, water and electric utilities services, and with transportation, communications, recreation, conservation, cultural services and with other relevant aspects of life in American Samoa.
The commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature.
They include lawmakers, business owners, and residents of the various territorial districts.