Economic Development Dept. Seeks to Improve Permits Process
Secretary-designate Cidre Says Agency Looking for Solutions
SAN JUAN — Economic Development Secretary-designate Manuel Cidre acknowledged Tuesday the existing issues with processes at the agency’s Permits and Endorsements Management Office [OGPe by its Spanish acronym], which he called the backbone of the Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym).
“If we aspire to have a Puerto Rico of opportunities, access to permits quickly and swiftly has to be a priority and the DDEC team is committed to this reality,” Cidre said in a statement.
“Currently there is a delay, in great part due to inspections required as part of the process to obtain the Single Permit. We recognize that the responsibility should not lie on the business owner. The Single Permit will be issued, and the required inspections will be carried out after the permit is issued. This way, the business owner will be able to start or continue their operations with the final Single Permit.”
This was one of the most important changes to the joint regulation, which went into effect on Jan. 2, Cidre added.
After a permit is approved, the case will be referred for the required inspections before obtaining certifications from the Health and Fire department, in addition to any other inspections necessary for the business to be able to operate.
“We understand that citizens are facing problems in some permitting offices in the autonomous municipalities, so we will be analyzing possible solutions to address” them, Cidre added. “In many cases, additional documents are required as set out in the joint regulation, and this opens the way for complaints and unrest among business owners. Our goal is to simplify the process, and it has been regulated for this purpose. We invite the autonomous municipalities to join this important initiative so that we can aspire to have a uniform process in obtaining permits in Puerto Rico.”
OGPe has continued working regularly throughout the pandemic because its operation is completely digital, and all the procedures are filed and evaluated using the Single Business Portal (SBP). Cidre further noted that the office did not close during the holidays, given that the evaluation and granting of permits is important for the economy of Puerto Rico.
“We invite municipalities, organizations and professional groups that are interested in coordinating workshops on the permits process, to contact firstname.lastname@example.org at the DDEC,” Cidre added. “DDEC’s goal is to make opening and running business operations in Puerto Rico an agile, simple and efficient process.”