Business, gov’t and fiscal board to discuss development at Manufacturers’ conference
SAN JUAN – The Manufacturers Association will be holding its Government Caucus on Feb. 9 at the Sheraton Puerto Rico at the convention center district in San Juan. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will keynote the daylong session that will consist of more than 15 workshops in which business people and government officials discuss alternatives to deal with Puerto Rico’s economic problems.
“This caucus is different. We have been careful to ensure…that we are going to be able to reach deals,” said Daneris Fernández, CEO and president of DGF Group. The Financial Oversight and Management Board’s chairman, Jose Carrión, and acting Revitalization Coordinator Aaron Bielenberg are slated to attend the activity.
Rosa M. Hernández Toledo, president and CEO of MC21, will moderate a panel focusing on the health care cliff expected in March and finding ways to reduce medical and drug costs without hurting patients covered by insurance.
“We will focus on solutions because we know what the problems are,” Hernández Toledo said.
She will be accompanied by Orlando González, president of MMM; Dorelisse Juarbe, vice president of Medicare Advantage, who will speak about financing and sustainability in Medicare and Medicaid programs. The panel also includes Roberto Pando, president of MCS; Jaime Pla, president of the Hospital Association; Felipe Palacios, president of the Pharmaceutical Industry Association of Puerto RIco; and Elliot Pacheco, vice president of Empresarios por Puerto Rico.
Jon Borschow, head of Foundation for Puerto Rico, will moderate a panel on the visitor economy, which comprises 10% of the net domestic product. “Puerto Rico receives 3.5 million visitors. Our studies show that if we can get two million more visitors and increase their stay for a couple of days, we will be able to yield $7 billion,” he said, adding that a study is being coordinated with Estudios Técnicos to determine how the visitor economy will flow to other sectors.
Luis Torres Llompart will moderate a tax reform panel that will include Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado and tax experts Carlos Serrano and Teresita Fuentes. The panel will focus on alternatives to provide tax relief without affecting the budget, streamlining Treasury Department processes and the simplification of tax documents for improved oversight over business.
Former Puerto Rico Industrial Development Director Javier Vázquez will be moderating a panel on economic development and promotion that includes economist Joaquín Villamil and Stryker CEO Lourdes de Cárdenas. Vázquez said the island’s promotion efforts to attract foreign investors should be carried out alongside the private sector. Puerto Rico is no longer competing with Ireland and Singapore for investors, but also with U.S. states, so it must find new ways to attract investment.
Rafael Rojo, chairman of the Bonistas del Patio bondholders group, said two debt panels will cover the matter of public debt. Oversight board Chairman Carrión will discuss the board’s view on how to handle Puerto Rico’s debt, while government officials, including Elías Sánchez, the governor’s representative to the board, and Gerardo Portela, head of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA), will present the government entity’s position on debt restructuring.
Francisco Díaz Massó, president of Bermúdez Longo Díaz-Massó and head of the Associated General Contractors of America, will moderate an infrastructure panel that will touch upon expediting permits and promoting public-private partnerships.
Tomás Torres, coordinator of the Economic Sustainability and Competitiveness Institute, will be in charge of a panel on renewable energy that will include Cemex head Agustin García, Puerto Rico Energy Commission Chairman Agustín Carbó and attorney Pedro Nieves. The energy panel will tackle seven topics that include reducing the high cost of energy, increasing the use of renewable energy, a feasible natural gas facility and keeping the energy regulator.