Puerto Rico government urges federal agencies to disburse loans
SAN JUAN – In a release Wednesday, the executive director of the Fiscal Agency & Financial Advisory Authority (Fafaa) of Puerto Rico, Gerardo Portela, said a letter was sent to the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to one he received from these agencies on Jan. 9 saying they were aware the island had cash available and does not yet qualify for the Community Disaster Loan (CDL) Program.
Portela said that, since October, Fafaa has been negotiating with the federal government to ensure the funds allocated by Congress under the CDL program are disbursed as soon as possible.
“It is not true that the federal Treasury has requested the intervention of the Fiscal Oversight Board in the management of CDL funds. Negotiations are still underway to establish the terms and conditions for activating access to federal loans,” Portela said.
“As part of the negotiations, Fafaa has complied with all demands of the federal agencies. However, despite Fafaa’s continuous efforts to date, the federal Treasury Department and FEMA have not provided the final terms and conditions under which they will disburse the funds allocated by the federal Congress,” the official added.
In response to the U.S. Treasury and FEMA, the island’s fiscal agency urged federal agencies to finalize negotiations, allowing access to loans under the CDL program, “according to the will of the federal Congress.”
Portela pointed out that the delay has caused the government of Puerto Rico to initiate a process that allows the central government to lend state funds to the Electric Power and Aqueduct & Sewer authorities.
“As previously published, these public corporations face severe liquidity problems that threaten essential services for the people of Puerto Rico by interrupting their operations if immediate action is not taken,” he warned.