Monday, May 29, 2017

Jaresko: The worst is behind us

By on April 21, 2017

Fiscal board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko (Jaime Rivera/CB)

Fiscal board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko (Jaime Rivera/CB)

SAN JUAN – For the executive director of the fiscal control board, Natalie Jaresko, it is the perfect time to invest in Puerto Rico infrastructure, especially since Promesa and a fiscal plan exist, giving public policy visibility for the next 10 years.

“The worst is behind us,” she said during her presentation at the P3 Summit at the Puerto Rico Convention Center. She added that the level of investment in infrastructure that is considered in the fiscal plan will only be possible through public-private partnerships (P3s).

“It’s a perfect time to invest in new infrastructure in Puerto Rico; with Promesa, the board, a fiscal plan that provides 10 years of visibility of what the public policy will be and a restructuring of the debt, which in one way or another will make it more sustainable,” Jaresko told those present while urging them to invest in the island.

The board director discussed how to develop “critical infrastructure projects” under Chapter V of Promesa, which provides for an expedited permitting process and the collaboration of local government, federal agencies and the private sector. The criteria for evaluating those projects include whether they address the infrastructure emergency, their cost, economic and environmental benefits, the project’s status, and “national priorities” such as energy production, Jaresko explained.

The board director discussed how to develop “critical infrastructure projects” under Chapter V of Promesa, which provides for an expedited permitting process and the collaboration of local government, federal agencies and the private sector. The criteria for evaluating these projects include whether they address the infrastructure emergency, their cost, the economic and environmental benefits, project status and “national priorities,” such as energy production, Jaresko explained.

She added that when evaluating a project, the board will use the original proposal, the revitalization coordinator’s report and the public comments received.

Jaresko added that Chapter V is not the only way to develop infrastructure projects in Puerto Rico and that the board “won’t compete” with the government if it sees interest in advancing projects outside the legal framework provided by Promesa.

“You don’t have to follow the Chapter V path, you can negotiate with the government. We do not want to compete with the government, but support it. If you are looking for an extra bit of certainty and support, then you can apply for this Chapter V process,” explained the executive director of the entity established by Promesa.

Earlier in the day, Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy spoke about the business advantages Puerto Rico offers, including human capital, which he believes is the island’s best asset.

“My mission is to execute the governor’s vision. It’s not my vision, it’s his. We want to increase competitiveness,” Laboy said during his speech. He added that the administration will try to make Puerto Rico the main innovation center of the Caribbean, the United States and Latin America.

The P3 Summit ends Friday with a series of roundtables between government officials and interested investors, who will have the opportunity to discuss their concerns and proposals.

 

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