Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Government Submits Financial Information to Fiscal Board

By on November 1, 2016

SAN JUAN — Just before midnight Monday, Oct. 31, the Puerto Rico government submitted documentation on seven of the nine information requests made by Promesa’s fiscal control board, Secretary of State and Financial Advisory & Fiscal Agency Authority Director Víctor Suárez announced Tuesday. 

As first reported by Caribbean Business, the board received annual and monthly information on the government’s cash flow, and its projections until the fiscal year’s end; a report on monthly payroll expenses; a report on the monthly receipt and disbursement of federal funds; a report on annual and monthly compliance with the approved budget; monthly and annual information on revenues and Treasury Department’s measures to increase these; and details about the commonwealth’s debt service obligations for the current fiscal year.

The quarterly reports on productivity and performance in the commonwealth’s public entities, and macroeconomic statistics of Puerto Rico weren’t submitted, and “will be delivered shortly,” Suárez stated.

Meanwhile, although the press statement doesn’t provide details about the board’s request of information on the government’s bank accounts, sources told Caribbean Business efforts are being conducted to that end, while the administration’s fiscal team is also working on some of the government revenue information requested by the board, which it has yet to deliver.

“We believe that when studying the findings and recent information provided, the board may identify and consequently understand the need to restructure our public debt without delay and protect our pensioners and public sector workers so that the economy is not further affected through austerity measures that have already failed. This is imperative, urgent and can’t be postponed,”  said Suárez in his written statement.

oversight-board-press

Promesa’s Board Chairman José Carrión III and member Prof. David Skeel address the press during the board’s first official meeting in New York City. (CB Photo/Luis J. Valentín)

During a public event Monday, Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said that “many of the documents” were delivered Friday, Oct. 28, but didn’t specify the information submitted. He added that “the relationship with the board is good,” and that to make it “inconsequential in Puerto Rico, we have to keep doing things right, as we have done.”

The periodic reports solicited by the board during its first official meeting on Sept. 30, had an “end of October” deadline. From now on, the government needs to continue delivering the information according to the frequency established by the board.

On Monday, García Padilla said the government wasn’t strictly bound to the initial delivery deadline, and assured there is communication and flexibility in handling the board’s information requests.

“Puerto Rico’s financial information is out there,” the governor added. For his part, Suárez said that “our administration has published more financial information than any other in history.”

Last week, Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza told Caribbean Business that “all the information [the board] has asked for is pretty handy.” He went on to say that changes were being made to the reports’ format to make these “more self-explanatory.”

For his part, García Padilla said board members “require from us the information for that day [Oct. 31], but they tell us ‘if available’ because they know that sometimes the information they ask for doesn’t arise…. Sometimes they tell us X information, weekly. And we would tell them ‘that information is done in a bi-weekly manner.’ They understand that, [the board members] are very reasonable people.”

The governor added that “the board is evaluating the numbers, as the U.S. Treasury and Congress did. And they will reach the same conclusion [the need to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt]…. Those who suggest there is no need to restructure the debt are suggesting more austerity and higher taxes. Don’t count me in for that,” García Padilla said.

After holding its first two meetings in New York City in October, Promesa’s fiscal board is slated to reconvene this month for an official meeting expected to take place in Puerto Rico.

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