Monday, November 20, 2017

Puerto Rico’s fiscal board extends gov’t deadline for delivery of financial reports

By on October 18, 2017

Gerardo Portela, director of the Financial Advisory & Fiscal Agency Authority (Yoel Parrilla/CB)

SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico government will now have until next month to deliver a series of financial reports to the commonwealth’s fiscal control board, as required by the federal Promesa law.

“We asked the board for an extension and now we have until Nov. 17,” said Gerardo Portela, director of the Financial Advisory & Fiscal Agency Authority. The initial deadline was Oct. 15.

Section 203 of Promesa states that at the end of each quarter, the commonwealth must report its revenue, expenses and cash flow during that period, compared to the projections under the certified budget. The board may also require “any other information” it deems appropriate.

Judge Swain: Puerto Ricans face an even graver humanitarian crisis

After hurricanes Irma and María hit the island, the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares asked the governing body for an extension to delivery date of these reports, which correspond to the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, which ended Oct. 1.

Portela explained that some of the reasons why the extension was requested include the collapse of the telecommunications system and the fact that a large part of the Treasury Department’s staff has been working at the Convention Center—which serves as the government’s command center—handling issues related to the emergency.

Puerto Rico governor, fiscal board anticipate changes to fiscal plans

While the government is working on reports for the three months prior to Hurricane María, the impact the historic storm will have on the new quarter’s numbers is still uncertain.

The governor has already warned that revenues will drop significantly, while significant recovery-related expenses are being incurred.

As for the board, on Sept. 21 it authorized the redistribution of up to $1 billion in allocations under the certified budget to address the “catastrophic damage” caused by the hurricane that struck the island on Sept. 20.

The fiscal panel said it wanted to give the government “flexibility” to face the emergency, particularly in the areas of health, public safety, housing and infrastructure. It also said it would be available to approve increases to the current budget, if necessary, “in anticipation of needed federal funds.”

The commonwealth government is actively lobbying Capitol Hill to obtain about $4.9 billion in federal loans to inject immediate liquidity; $4.3 to $ 4.6 billion through various federal programs; and “billions of dollars” in a long-term reconstruction package for Puerto Rico.

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