U.S. Treasury secretary, Puerto Rico gov sign agreement for access to disaster loan
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has signed the agreement to access funds from the emergency Community Disaster Loans (CDL) program.
The governor made the remarks after he met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Puerto Rico Thursday.
The agreement “provides a commitment by the federal government to extend a line of credit to the Government of Puerto Rico to provide loans to the central government up to a maximum amount of $2.253 billion,” reads a release issued by the governor’s office, La Fortaleza, where the officials met.
The amount, La Fortaleza said, is equal to the government’s estimated revenue losses over “the 365 days following the onslaught of Hurricane Maria.”
Access to the credit line is intended to address future liquidity emergencies until March 31, 2020.
The governor expressed his “thanks to Secretary Mnuchin for working hand in hand with his team and our Administration to facilitate that Puerto Rico has access to these loans if necessary after the fiscal and social impact caused by Hurricane Maria to our Island. Our thanks to the Department of the Treasury of the United States for trusting Puerto Rico and supporting us in this recovery process.”
To access the loan, the local Treasury Department cannot have more than $1.1 billion deposited in its main account, known as the Treasury Single Account, or TSA.
If and when the funds are needed, the agreement is subject to the consent of the island’s Legislative Assembly, Financial Oversight and Management Board, and the judge overseeing the island’s bankruptcy-like proceedings in court under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act’s Title III.
The document was signed July 11 and delivered to the governor by the U.S. Treasury Department, La Fortaleza said.
Rosselló has met several times with Mnuchin, alongside the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Carlos Mercader; and the representative of the governor to the fiscal board, Christian Sobrino.
Besides the disaster loan, on Thursday they discussed “the island’s return to fiscal stability and economic growth,” according to the U.S. Treasury. Mnuchin “received a briefing from members of the Governor’s cabinet on fiscal and economic reforms. He offered to provide technical assistance from the U.S. Treasury to support efforts to reform Puerto Rico government operations,” the U.S. Treasury wrote on its website.
Rosselló thanked the work of the executive director of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA), Gerardo Portela, as well as his team, “who led the conversations of this agreement.”