Guam – Senator Ben Pangelinan has introduced a bill which would establish a GEDA Administered program to provide grants and loans to small and mid-size business owners who experience hardships and business interruption resulting from government-sanctioned projects or construction activity involving public infrastructure.
The “Government of Guam Mitigation Program for Business Interruption” stems from concerns expressed by several small business owners in areas where road construction had an overwhelmingly negative impact on business operations due to traffic congestion and blocked roadways.
If passed into law, this legislation will “direct and authorize the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) to develop, implement, and administer the business relief program, providing financial relief to business adversely affected by government projects including road construction,” according to the bill. Eligible grantees and loan recipients will be able to use program funds towards paying utility costs, commercial space rent, and/or salaries and benefits for their employees.
The senator is concerned that many of these small businesses have no other alternative for assistance or relief to survive adverse business conditions brought about through no fault of their making. “These people have no recourse and could be forced into bankruptcy or closing up shop, and I will not stand by and watch that happen. Some of them have been doing very well long before these road construction projects started, and now most of them are in fear that they’ll have to shut down or be forced to relocate requiring even more capital,” says the senator. “We cannot let them lose their businesses, because not only do the business owners lose out, this will also mean that there’ll be fewer people employed and earning wages.”