Professional trade organization Empresarios por Puerto Rico urged the government to use the legal means necessary so that federal allocations aimed at the island’s recovery are mainly channeled through local services and suppliers, “for only then will have a positive effect on the economy.”
Enid Monge-Pastrana, president of the organization, reacted to the report by the Center for a New Economy, which revealed that only 10 percent of the nearly $5 billion in federal funds allocated for rehabilitation works went to hire local companies .
“It would be devastating to the island amid the economic crisis and the disaster it has faced, that these funds are used for the enrichment of companies not established in Puerto Rico and that poverty and inequality continue to increase,” said Monge-Pastrana, urging the government to enforce the Stafford Act, which provides for recovery funds to be invested locally to benefit the economy.
“The most efficient way to invest these allocations is circulating money through local companies that, in turn, will have a multiplier effect on job creation and distribution of wealth,” said Monge-Pastrana.
This week Empresarios for Puerto Rico presented the “Economic and Social Impact of Local companies on Puerto Rico” study, commissioned the Estudios Técnidos firm, revealed that about 96 percent of businesses in Puerto Rico are local, they generate 83 percent of jobs and represent 53 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, as this media outlet reported.
During the presentation, Monge-Pastrana reiterated the message of the business sector and economists that the government should ensure that federal allocations effectively serve to move the economy.
“We must enforce the law so that these funds are used to develop infrastructure capital that serves the island and that includes infrastructure composed by our local businesses,” saod Monge-Pastrana, whose organization represents more than 1,000 establishments that generate said about 50,000 jobs.
It is estimated that about $60 billion could be allocated to address the damage caused by Hurricane María, which, used within our industries and businesses, could mitigate the economic crisis over the next two to three years.