The Economic Development Bank and the Puerto Rico Industry Investment Board announced Tuesday the start of a financing program to provide credit lines of between $50,000 and $900,000 to local companies seeking to selling products and services to the government but who lack the necessary funds to get the process going.
During a news conference at the EDB’s Guaynabo headquarters, agency President Ivonne Otero said the “Invest in Puerto Rico” credit line program was designed to support established companies that are Board-certified to participate as contractors or suppliers to government agencies.
The credit lines “will enable them to be competitive and meet bid requirements and agency purchase procedures,” she said.
“The funds may be invested in inventory, working capital and purchase of materials,” she said, noting that eligibility requirements are subject to the Board’s certification and companies must assign contract payments as collateral. Participating companies will get a moratorium for the first six months after the credit line is approved.
The program is expected to benefit small- and mid-sized businesses as well as manufacturing industries, said Javier Rivera-Aquino, executive director of the Board. However, he said creating business opportunities for local companies will hinge on ensuring that procurement specifications are “developed fairly and that the percentages of preference are applied properly.”
The credit line program announced Tuesday got a warm reception from several local trade groups, including the Puerto Rico Products Association, the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association and the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce.
The PRMA asked Rivera-Aquino to establish a measurement system to track the percentage of purchases the government makes of local products or services, and set a goal that the transactions constitute at least 15 percent of total government purchases.
“It is imperative that all sectors: consumer, private enterprise, and government come together to create a culture where we trust in ourselves and consume what Puerto Rico produces,” PRMA President Waleska Rivera said. “Manufacturing is a way to retain wealth on the island and coupled with the service sector to accelerate the growth of our economy by generating and increasing valuable jobs on the island.”