Centro CRECE, a nonprofit organization that cultivates solutions to promote self-management and growth, announced the launching of the “Competitiveness Toolkit” for Puerto Rico.
This analysis, developed in collaboration with the firm Inteligencia Económica evaluates Puerto Rico’s competitiveness in a global market and presents necessary reforms to improve the environment of doing business, fostering entrepreneurship, and transforming Puerto Rico into a more competitive market.
The recommendations of the Competitiveness Toolkit are based on the findings of the 2020 edition of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, where Puerto Rico ranks #65 among 190 jurisdictions with a score of 70 (same as Brunei and Colombia, and below India and Ukraine), and third in Latin America and the Caribbean (below Mexico and Chile).
The World Bank report evaluates the process of establishing and maintaining a business, including opening a business, day-to-day operations, getting a location, certainty of doing business, and access to capital.
The Competitiveness Toolkit identifies key areas that Puerto Rico needs to address urgently to improve the business environment and compete successfully globally, proposes reforms, and shows the positive effect that these reforms would have on Puerto Rico’s global competitiveness ranking.
“CRECE’s mission is to promote solutions aimed at economic development and prosperity. For 10 years, our attention has focused on the economic recession and fiscal bankruptcy. It is time to change course and commit to remove barriers that hinder economic growth and development,” said Tere Nolla, executive director of CRECE, while explaining that the “Competitiveness Toolkit” proposes reforms in areas that require immediate attention.
“If we truly believe in the ability and creativity of Puerto Ricans to innovate and compete, our leaders and elected officials must commit to establish an environment of doing business that enables us to prosper. We urge all citizens to join in this call to action to demand initiatives focused on growth,” she said
The areas in need of attention, according to CRECE, are:
Property Registry: Reduce the number of steps and time required to register a property and give transparency to the process by making the Property Registry to publish statistics on cases and transactions completed.
Building permits: Reduce the number of processes, permits and in-person visits; streamline processes and establish an electronic platform to process building permits.
Access to electricity: Improving and maintaining the stability and administrative independence of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority; restructuring the public corporation for greater efficiency and leveraging on the experience and efficiency of the sector by privatizing the main functions of the operation (generation, transmission and distribution); and establish a permanent structure to promote transparency in the procurement process, and access to information about the company and the energy sector.
Taxes: Lower tax rates to corporations and businesses, reduce the number of payments required, and use the Treasury Department’s online SURI platform to expedite paperwork.
As part of the launching of the Competitiveness Toolkit, Centro CRECE is also making a general call to sign the “Puerto Rico Deserves to Prosper” petition, aimed at candidates running for office to include the proposed reforms in their government programs and commit to acting on them.
“It is unacceptable that in Puerto Rico, getting a permit takes five months and multiple formalities, that 60% of the profits of small and medium-size businesses are spent on taxes, and that processing a bill of sale takes 180 days. Let’s demand the changes that we all know are needed,” Nolla said.