Lawmaker seeks permitting help for small-midsize businesses amid pandemic

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party at-large Sen. José Nadal Power has filed a resolution that would allow small and midsize businesses on the island to renew free of charge the Single Permit granted by the Government Permits Management Office (OGPe by its Spanish acronym), it was reported Sunday.

“During this pandemic and as a result of executive orders, small and medium-sized businesses have been seriously affected since they have had to close completely and/or partially, while others have had to close their doors permanently,” Nadal Power said in a written statement. “Faced with this situation, both the federal and [commonwealth] governments have provided a series of aid in order to help them economically in the face of this global crisis. However, the aid has not been sufficient, even more so when the total reopening of the economy remains uncertain.”

Recent statements by the president of the United Retailers Association in various media assert that the economic losses of merchants due to the pandemic have been in the millions of dollars and that approximately 2,300 businesses have closed permanently. This figure is in addition to that expressed by the Puerto Rico Restaurant Association, which estimates that, during this pandemic, about 25 percent of restaurants have closed.

“We recognize the challenge for the economy, for the government and above all for businessmen, of going through this pandemic. Likewise, we recognize the need to find tools to help these small and midsize businesses,” Nadal Power said. “For this reason, we have decided to propose an incentive aimed at offering businesses the renewal of the Single Permit free of cost and granting a credit for the next renewal to businesses that have already completed the [same] process during the months of April to November. This, added to other initiatives promoted by the government, will help to alleviate a little the burden of one of the sectors of the economy that has suffered the most from the closures.”

The outgoing senator said the Single Permit includes the Environmental Compliance license, the Fire Prevention Certification, the Sanitary License and any other type of license or applicable authorization required for the operation of the activity or use of the business.

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