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Bernier proposes boosting manufacturing to make economic recovery possible

By on August 15, 2016

PDP gubernatorial candidate David Bernier and his running mate, Héctor Ferrer, visit Engiworks in Caguas, where he praised the 85,000 jobs manufacturing creates on the island. (Inter News Service photo)

PDP gubernatorial candidate David Bernier and his running mate, Héctor Ferrer, visit Engiworks in Caguas, where he praised the 85,000 jobs manufacturing creates on the island. (Inter News Service photo)

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – David Bernier, the Popular Democratic Party’s (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, has presented measures intended to boost the island’s manufacturing sector, acknowledging it as a key pillar in Puerto Rico’s economic recovery process.

“Our government plan will give priority to our island’s fiscal recovery and economic development over any other matter, and this will require a climate of social and political stability to which we are committed,” said Bernier while visiting Engiworks at Tolima Valley Industrial Park in Caguas while accompanied by resident commissioner candidate Héctor Ferrer.

The politician emphatically pointed out the need to “create a suitable work environment with the fiscal control board and the economic development task force created by the Promesa Act.”

“We started working on preparing a five-year fiscal plan that will include appropriate debt restructuring, a tax reform focused on stimulating the economy, restructuring the government apparatus and specific measures to develop our economy,” he explained.

“In addition to total support for entrepreneurs and local production, we will ensure stability and promote our manufacturing [sector’s] growth, which generates some 85,000 jobs and means an impact of 48 percent to our economy.”

His proposed path toward stabilization has three main components: adequate debt restructuring, “in a responsible, fair and sensitive manner. By restructuring the debt there will be economic resources that can be strategically invested to revive the economy”; a tax reform “aimed at encouraging economic development and that provides assurance to local and foreign entrepreneurs that they can invest in our island.”

And government reform “focused on efficiency to bring about an adequate and competitive environment for economic activity on the island.”

The backbone of the economic development in Bernier’s strategic plan will stimulate the manufacturing industry and strengthen local entrepreneurship. In terms of the initiative presented for the manufacturing sector, Bernier highlighted he is promoting the implementation of federal incentives on manufacturing.

“That effort has already been initiated in the United States, where attracting foreign investment guarantees a link to local entrepreneurs for a broader impact on the economy” he added.

The PDP president said that means “that any company established on the island will be required, as ‘first choice,’ to purchase goods and services from local entrepreneurs. In addition, this initiative allows us access to the most advanced technologies and international trade value chains.”

He also proposes “to review school and university curricula in order to adjust it our economic development plan. We will strengthen and develop university  research and development programs that generate patentable products such as new drugs, devices, treatments, innovative services and the creation of new technological processes.”

In addition, Act 154 of 2010 will be amended “to provide federal credit certainty and make sure that its applicability to manufacturers is only for the portion of the product that is produced through contract manufacturing.”

“To speed up the creation and establishment of new businesses, except for limited exceptions in the healthcare and environmental sectors, we will establish a system of preapproved permits subject to certification and auditing, where proponents, after following clear rules and taking the land-use and zoning plan into consideration, will create their own permits and put them to use immediately,” he said.

He believes this way “the onus is on the proponent. To achieve this, we will unify the [central] government and municipal platforms technologically so entrepreneurs can quickly go through this procedure. To ensure a solution to this situation, I will personally and continuously monitor up to its final resolution starting on my first week as governor.”

“Puerto Rico depended almost exclusively on manufacturing incentives and bond issuances for its economic development. Both components are important for the future, but they must go hand in hand with a tax reform focused on stimulating economic development and seeing that all investments are linked to local capital,” the candidate explained.

“Our efforts will also be linked to the private sector, academia and the federal government, but will mainly focus on our local entrepreneurs,” Bernier added.

By Inter News Service

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