With the recent approval of the federal PROMESA Act, the agenda for Puerto Rico's recovery has barely begun, which is why the nation needs to identify the leader of the team that will assemble strategies to boost the Island's economic development.
After Melba Acosta's exit from the government sphere, this administration continues to be responsible for setting in motion efforts to activate the Island's productivity, within the framework of an efficient administration and in sync with the federal Oversight Board that President Barack Obama will put together to restructure the debt and oversee Puerto Rican public finances.
The mandate the people gave this government is not over, and neither is the hope for Puerto Rico's restoration.
Therefore, it is essential to quickly appoint the leadership that will act as a link to the Board, a task that requires the highest level of transparency towards the new federal authority, creditors and the Puerto Rican people. The efficient performance of this link will be instrumental in the success of the plan for Puerto Rico's recovery.
Now, the opportunity arises to knot together in a single project the variety of scattered proposals and initiatives that sail through both public and private sectors, with the purpose of strengthening the country with capital that will replenish lost jobs and create new ones, for the relief and benefit of our people.
Puerto Rico cannot greet the Board empty handed. On the contrary, it should be armored with solid proposals for economic stimulus, governmental reorganization, and the efficient use of resources. These will give the country the strength it needs to engage in thriving dialogue with the federal entity that is soon to arrive.
It is indispensable that, in the remaining months of the year, the footing of a solid agenda for Puerto Rico's economic development is built and, within it, the proactive discussion of negotiations regarding obligations. These are substantial duties to which the incoming 2017 government must lend continuity, in harmony with the federal Board.
Among the key assignments is resolving the uncertainty that surrounds the insolvent Government Development Bank (GDB), a fiscal entity that for decades was responsible for financing economic initiatives propelled by the government of Puerto Rico.
Acosta has anticipated that in the weeks she has left at the GDB she will review the fiscal and economic growth plan, and will listen for the possibility of resuming negotiations with creditors, in pursuit of voluntary agreements. In the next few weeks, the government must participate of these conversations, the results of which will have to make it through the Board's filter.
In this scenario of queries regarding the future of the GDB and with the central government in the very midst of fiscal instability, PROMESA offers a huge window of opportunity with the establishment of a moratorium until early 2017—extendable for three months—which prevents creditors from filing lawsuits against the government of Puerto Rico for defaulting on agreed upon payments.
By no means must Acosta's exit as President of the GDB and government Chief Financial Officer, effective July 31st, translate into an impasse of the government's efforts to get the country back on track.
It is time to act promptly in order to reorganize the fiscal team and fortify fiscal and economic recovery efforts, so that the new government may count on a structured path towards the country's development and rehabilitation, in light of the new scenario the Board brings forth.
The fiscal team's successful reorganization will strengthen the relationship with the Board, as well as the work to be done for the future of the country.
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