The executive director of the Aafaf and the government representative to the Tax Oversight Board requested additional time to review the tax plan in the face of the coronavirus emergency. (GFR Media)

Given the emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19, the Fiscal Agency and Financial AdvisoryAuthority (FAFAA) requested the Oversight Board to change the work schedule to certify new projections of the fiscal plan.

The Board approved this request yesterday.

Omar J. Marrero, FAFAA head and governor's representative before the Board, said that right now, prudence dictates that the Board pause the process of reviewing the fiscal plan and provide the government with an extension, until April 15, to submit a revised document, as long as government operations return to normal.

According to Marrero Díaz, the administration has dedicated "all efforts" to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a virus that was identified in China at the end of 2019 and that is now classified as a pandemic that has caused nearly 200,000 infections and 7,869 deaths.

Puerto Rico has confirmed five cases, three of them are tourists.

Since last Sunday, Puerto Rico has been in social isolation, which included businesses shutdown and a curfew until March 30.

According to Marrero Díaz, this measure and the effect of the pandemic on the global economy will affect the macroeconomic assumptions in the fiscal plan.

The negative impact on the economy is expected to continue for the next two quarters and could be very marked, said FAFAA.

The Board immediately welcomed FAFAA's request and gave the government until 15 April to submit its new projections.

"The Oversight Board was scheduled to certify an updated Fiscal Plan on April 30, 2020, but will determine, in its sole discretion, when to certify the updated Fiscal Plan given the uncertainty of the current situation" reads the letter from Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko.

While the Board accepted to postpone the certification process, Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who presides over Title III cases, said yesterday the judicial process will continue.

Swain plans to discuss the disclosure statement on the central government's payment plan next June.


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