Governor doesn’t know when P3 earnings will reach retirement systems
SAN JUAN – Reiterating the message of the first months of his administration, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló declared Friday that he is committed to public private partnerships (P3s) as a mechanism for economic development on the island.
He told some 900 investors who participated in the P3 Summit that “Puerto Rico is open for business” and that the officials present are available to clarify doubts about the legal framework for P3s.
However, no government official, including the governor, has referred to participatory P3s (APP+P by its initials in Spanish), which include the third sector—or non-governmental, nonprofit and voluntary organizations, among others—during the first part of the summit, despite APP+Ps appearing most frequently in the administration’s Plan for Puerto Rico.
On another objective that appears in the Plan for Puerto Rico, to “diversify” the government retirement systems’ revenue sources “through APP+P,” the governor said everything will depend on the agreement reached with the private sector, because not all will necessarily contribute to pensions.
“The guarantees are going to be established, they are going to be seen clearly and diaphanously, and which of the PPPs [will provide funds for the pensions] we’ll have to take a look… The answer is it depends on the P3s, it depends on the projection and obviously we will notify the people of Puerto Rico as soon as they can be established,” the governor said at a press conference after delivering his speech at the P3 Summit in the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
As an example, the governor used an infrastructure project that doesn’t have “substantial profits” for the government and the investors. “If one can imagine [an] infrastructure [project] whose design would have substantial revenue, substantial profit, for the people of Puerto Rico vis a vis what the cost was, then part of those profits—what had been established, 25%—would be contributed to the retirement system,” he said.
During his speech, Rosselló told investors that his administration has a three-year plan that aims to achieve about $5 billion in investment through P3s. He said the agreements could be in “low-cost, high-quality” energy; aqueducts—a system that is more “reliable for the people”—transportation, and technology, among others.
He mentioned as examples the existing P3s on the island, which had received input of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood, such as Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport with Aerostar and PR-22 and PR-5 highways with Metropistas.
The governor said that the “transparency” with which they the P3 process is being carried out is what guarantees the public that, with the agreements, there won’t be a privatization of the profits nor a socialization of the losses.
He assured that in all processes, including unsolicited proposals and pre-development agreements presented by members of the private sector to the government, bids will be carried out in which “everything is going to be evaluated” and the people will be informed.
“Our objective is clear: Development and economic growth is a goal here, but our ulterior objective is a better society,” he said.