Despite lateness of 2021 audited financials, Fitch praises gov’t
By The Star Staff
Fitch Ratings credit rating agency issued a comment Wednesday highlighting the importance of the publication of the audited financial statements of the Puerto Rico government for fiscal year 2021.
The credit rating agency emphasized the improvement in reliability, timeliness, and access to relevant market information. The audited financials were issued almost two years late.
In its commentary, Fitch maintains that the island government’s ability to sustain the demonstrated improvement in budget practices and financial and economic reports is vital to the agency’s investigative process to re-form a credit opinion on Puerto Rico.
“This comment from Fitch shows the fruits of Governor Pierluisi’s commitment to getting the government up to date in the publication of financial statements,” said Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF by its Spanish initials) Executive Director Omar J. Marrero Díaz.
He said Fitch’s comment “speaks volumes” about the efforts of the Treasury Department and the AAFAF to improve the reliability, timeliness and accessibility of the government’s financial and economic information.
“There have been many financial and fiscal achievements under the leadership of the governor, including the implementation of the debt adjustment plans of the central government and the Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT) in March and December 2022, respectively, ending the bankruptcy of the government and the ACT under Title III of PROMESA [the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act], the publication of the government’s audited financial statements for fiscal years 2019, 2020 and 2021, liquidity and budget reports and the holding of two forums in Puerto Rico and New York to share progress status with capital market participants,” added Marrero Díaz, who also serves as secretary of state.
Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea said he was satisfied with the recognition from Fitch and recognized the commitment of his work team to ensure that Puerto Rico once again complies with the financial disclosure requirements within the established calendar, by agreements with capital markets.
“Last week, we issued the fifth Audited Financial Statements report under our direction,” the Treasury chief said. “The work has been hard, but we are delighted with the work carried out by our team, which is very committed to the goal of updating the financial statements, an important step to getting out of PROMESA and achieving the financial transparency that our island deserves and needs.”
Meanwhile, Marrero Díaz acknowledged that there is still work to be done, starting with the publication of the government’s financial statements for fiscal year 2022 and being on time with the publication of the reports for fiscal year 2023, as well as finishing the pending restructuring processes, such as that of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, but stressing the importance of validating the progress achieved to date.