Navajo Nation is looking to expand its Portfolio through Foreign Investments
SCOTTSDALE — Build it and they will come. The most attractive foreign investment tool to the United states is the EB-5 program, now the mammoth Native American Tribe is looking to create its own niche with foreigners.
How it will work is the big question, lets say a foreigner invested a $1 million and creates 10 domestic jobs, within two years they can get a green card, essentially both parties win.
But experts like Anne Lee, who wrote the book “What the U.S. Can Learn From China.” has a different perspective about the EB-5 program, she once wrote in her New York Times column, “The most egregious problems with the EB-5 program can be found in its 218 regional centers, which work with private-sector brokers to identify local investments and direct foreign participants to them.” she said.
Lee also said many investments have failed to create the required 10 jobs and even gone bankrupt, leaving the investor without his money or his green card.
As for the Navajo Nation, by creating this new EB-5, they would like to start developing programs through foreign investment and gain that access to domestic investors- essentially creating more opportunities for Navajos to expand their market and streamline the economy.
Last week, business executives from Global Empyrean, US Fuel, and First Point Energy all meant with the Navajo Nation Council Energy Committee to identify solutions for replacing the four-corners coal power plant, that is currently scheduled for shut down due to EPA issues the Obama Administration has made.
The Navajo Nation is now steering clear of their Power Plants for jobs and Revenue
With the recent decision by the EPA, Navajo officials are worried the impact of the power plant shutdown will effect its economy and it’s job growth could become weaker. The Navajo Nation frail economy could be brought to its knees if the nation doesn’t look at other alternatives for revenue and job creation.
Over 60 percent of the Navajo national revenue is generated from their coal power plants. There are nearly a thousand jobs at risk, which could bump the Navajo unemployment level to it’s worst level.
The Navajo Nation hopes to change that, by bringing in a different approach and it requires entering the global financial markets and the new EB-5 program may just do that.
Albert Damon, Executive Director of the Division of Economic Development at The Navajo Nation hopes to do just that, he said they are looking to take on debt responsibly and proportionately to the national revenues, “we will finally obtain the financial assistance needed to build the Navajo Nation the way we envision. We are excited to process our projects through Dine’ Bi Keyah Regional Center and potentially finance all Navajo projects,” he said in a joint statement with Empyrean.
As for the Scottsdale firm, Empyrean West made the announcement of partnering with the Navajo Nation to create, operate and co-own the new Dine’ Bi Keyah EB-5 Regional Center that will begin to bring certain investors in to build the Navajo economy.
“Though The Navajo Nation currently has little to no national debt and has been self-sufficient, we are viewed by the public as a third world country within the US. There has been many investment strategies presented to us, but the strategy that we feel most comfortable with allows us to adhere to our National bylaws and policies to take on debt responsibly and proportionately to the national revenues. Since Empyrean West’s EB-5 program is supported by the institutional funding from Global Private Funding.” said Albert Damon.
Raymond Nopah, Chief Financial Officer at The Navajo Nation, said, “Establishing an EB-5 regional center on the Navajo Nation is key in facilitating growth, development and investments on the Nation. Our five-year plan projects private and public developments of over $200 million dollar per year. Through the Empyrean administrated EB-5 program, The Navajo Nation can realize its strategic importance in key industry sectors of energy, transportation, shipping and broadband corridors connecting California and the eastern United States.”
Dave Keller CEO Empyrean West Keller explained, though the EB-5 is risky, they will practice due diligence, “our operational model is a direct to investor model. Global provides the due diligence and tracing of investor funds through its span of international offices while Empyrean West administers the finances and assures the job creation through our integrated proprietary finance administration systems.
Jay Carter, Principal and COO of Empyrean West said investors can start investing in projects like the new hotel in northern New Mexico, “it’s not a matter of USCIS approving an investor, but rather the project not delivering the job creation as promised that cause the foreign investor to be denied permanent residency; green-card.” Carter identified a hotel in Shiprock and a resort in Lake Powell as immediate investment opportunities.
Sam Senev, Chairman & CEO of Global praised the effort between both parties by saying, “give a man a fish, and you have fed him once, teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime”, adding, “our economy will recover faster and our great nation will become stronger if we focus on creating jobs. We must trust in the capabilities of our citizens as that trust builds dignity and pride,” said Senev.
Jay Carter, Principal and COO of Empyrean West, Sam Senev, Chairman & CEO of Global, Brian Bishop, President of First Point Energy Corporation and Paul Adams, Chief Operating Officer of US Fuel all meant with Navajo officials.
Currently, India and China lead the EB-5 investor market. Whats is EB5, it is the Immigrant Investor Program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
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