(San Juan) - The Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, Manuel Laboy Rivera, has cleared all doubts about the statements made by himself yesterday during the public hearing of the Puerto Rico Treasury and Budget, and Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Commission related to the recommended budget. His words had been misrepresented by the PPD minority. The Secretary reaffirmed that "this administration's priority is the creation of new and better jobs, and the upsurge of the Puerto Rican economy."
Regarding the review of the economic forecast for 2018, from -2.8% to -4.2%, he insisted that this impact needs to be responsibly assessed in connection to any other macroeconomic indicator. "These forecasts are related to disastrous actions taken by the past Administration and over a decade of economic decline. The Governor has implemented the necessary measures to stop this economic bleeding and fall. This does not entail a new loss of jobs to be added to the forecasts and the actual loss experienced during the past 4 years", the Secretary said.
"We are not reviewing a job forecast. We truly rely on a series of measures that will help us gradually reach a positive trend, by injecting new money into the economy and avoiding the negative impact we have suffered for over a decade", said the head of Economic Development and Commerce.
"Regardless of whether or not there is an adjustment to the economic forecast, more than ever before we have to strengthen the economic development measures we are implementing and those that are about to be implemented; these will create jobs in tourism, manufacturing, technology, innovation, agriculture and product and service export, among others. We are confident that all these measures will pave the way for a change from negative to positive forecasts, and for the creation of the jobs we need so that, not being forced to leave, Puerto Ricans stay here, are productive and take part in the economic rebirth of Puerto Rico", he added.
Among the economic development measures implemented or in the process of being introduced by the current administration, Laboy Rivera highlighted the amendments to PPPs, the Labor Reform, Permit Reform, Medical Professional Retention Act, Enterprise Puerto Rico, DMO, Tax Reform, Energy Reform, a new Incentive Code and the Asset Map.
"We work towards promoting economic growth with these and other projects in various regions of Puerto Rico", he said.
Regarding the FAFAA administrative order on tax credit management, he clarified that it had a momentary impact on the credit evaluation and award process; however, after educating and guiding investors and businesspeople, the necessary certainty to continue encouraging investment was attained.
"This is an example of how to balance fiscal responsibility and economic development, which is also being achieved in recent expansions into other areas such as manufacturing, hotel construction and film projects. This order, far from creating uncertainty or a negative image in the eyes of the investment world, shows that we have a clear direction and a commitment to the responsible use of credit encouraging economic activity", the DDEC Secretary said.
"We are addressing current challenges with a responsible plan. Taking every sector into account. We trust that it will yield the expected benefits for the good of Puerto Rico. We continue to work with more energy than ever. There should be no doubt about that", he said.