Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Oshima to Lead Hawai‘i Economic Recovery Plan

April 8, 2020, 5:56 PM HST
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Governor David Ige. PC: State of Hawaii

Gov. David Ige has created a new position within his administration to lead Hawai‘i’s economy back from the current recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor tapped longtime business leader Alan Oshima to head an initiative dubbed the Hawaiʻi Economic and Community Recovery & Resiliency Plan, who was introduced at a press conference Wednesday.

“I’m humbled to be asked,” Oshima said. “We’re going to do everything possible to win this war and recover our economy and community.”

He promised transparency and inclusion from all sectors of society and the economy. A big part of the job will include administering CARES Act relief funding from the federal government, which will include at least $4 billion for Hawai‘i.

Oshima described a proactive approach of government outreach as opposed to community in-reach. He added that the goal will be to disperse funding to the relevant entities as quickly as possible, saying aid will be available in real-time.

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The initiative will also focus on building a more diversified and sustainable economic model.

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“This pandemic has reaffirmed what we have known for a while — that our economy must be diversified and cannot be over-reliant on one or two major industries,” House Speaker Scott K. Saiki said at the press conference. “This task force must help modernize our economy. The future of our families and state relies upon a sound and resilient economy.”

According to the Governor’s Office, the Hawaiʻi Economic and Community Recovery & Resiliency Plan that will include a concurrent three-part strategy to address both the economic and community impacts of COVID-19:

Part I: Stabilization — Identify and address critical economic and community impacts, including the allocation of the federal CARES Act funds and state and local funding to mitigate the collapse of key economic sectors. Also, provide direct economic relief to individuals to avoid homelessness, hunger and sickness.

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Part II: Recovery — Identify and support economic and community development activities, which provide recovery, job growth and capital investment in the economy.

Part III: Resiliency — Re-evaluate and restructure Hawaiʻi’s economy to meet the new normal and desired future for Hawaiʻi. Identify and invest in systemic changes in the economy and society which furthers economic diversification, environmental preservation, sustainability and Hawaiʻi’s values and way of life.

In February, Oshima became the senior executive advisor of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) after serving five years as its president and chief executive officer. While at HECO, he is credited with accelerating a company-wide transformation initiative that reorganized its focus and built an employee culture that readily adapts to change, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office.

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