Governor touts economic policy achievements
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi defended on Thursday the achievements of his public policy to boost Puerto Rico’s economy and attract projects that promote investment.
“We are taking concrete actions to improve our investment climate, create incentives for new sectors of the economy, attract visitors, entrepreneurs and residents,” the governor said at LAcademy, an event staged by the Puerto Rico chapter of Entrepreneur Organization, a group of entrepreneurs with the goal of identifying tools that promote different economic sectors. “We have a multisectoral, multifactorial strategy to assure ourselves that we are ready for economic development without precedent.”
The governor emphasized that in terms of labor, more than 100,000 new jobs have been created in Puerto Rico in 20 months, which reduced unemployment to 5.8%, the lowest point in history.
He noted further that in September, 44% of the businesses on the island reported plans to increase their workforce, which demonstrates confidence in the island’s economy.
In his message, the governor pointed to the investment of more than $800 million for economic impact initiatives through the Investment for Growth Program, which will provide financing for projects that can contribute significantly to the island’s long-term socio-economic growth and stability.
“Permanent capital investments are already reaching every corner of the island, with more than 2,500 construction projects underway, in areas including housing, schools, transportation, water and sewer systems as well as the electrical system,” the governor said. “All this permanent work makes urgent the need for experience and development capacity on the part of the private sector and presents great opportunities in the field of entrepreneurship.”
In tourism, Pierluisi stressed that the island experienced a record year in 2021, underlined by a 16% increase in tax revenue in the sector, a 35% increase in accommodation revenue and the highest employment figures in history, totalling more than 90,000 people.
The achievement, the governor said, is the result of the allocation of $120 million invested in different areas to attract conferences and important events, revitalize tourist attractions and restore natural resources, as well as attract the interest of new businesses and encourage job creation.
Pierluisi also noted that Puerto Rico has been recognized as one of the jurisdictions that has best recovered from the global coronavirus pandemic. Despite inflation and high fuel prices, the economy is growing, with all indicators positive, including business confidence and a consistent increase in government revenues.
“As you probably know, Puerto Rico is in a momentous time, leaving behind a past of fiscal, structural and social challenges and entering a new era of progress and growth,” the governor said. “The successful restructuring of our public debt to sustainable levels and renewed economic momentum puts us on solid ground going forward.”
During his speech, the governor recognized the challenges after the recent natural disasters, which have driven the renovation and reconstruction of infrastructure in order to guarantee resilient and modern construction.
He also highlighted the tax incentives available to professionals and investors in relocating to the island.
“Puerto Rico’s diversified economy, bilingual workforce, technological infrastructure and global reach make us an ideal destination for investment and entrepreneurship,” Pierluisi said. “We also have commercial and political stability, as Puerto Rico offers the same operational and security protections as U S. jurisdictions. In the government we still have a lot to do, but I am very optimistic about what we are achieving.”