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Gov’t rolls out emergency aid for SMEs affected by Hurricane Fiona

The government announced the start of an aid program providing up to $50,000 in aid to small- and mid-sized businesses in Puerto Rico that experienced damages from Hurricane Fiona.

To qualify, the SMEs must have generated $1.5 million or less in recent tax years, regardless of the number of employees on their payroll, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.

Aid can be requested online.

“I’ve asked the Department of Economic Development and Commerce [DDEC, in Spanish] to sign an administrative order that will mitigate losses and subsidize operating expenses of SMEs that have suffered damage due to the atmospheric phenomenon,” the governor said.

These funds will be used for specific needs, such as: the purchase of power generators or solar panel systems, up to a maximum of $25,000; purchase or repair equipment damaged by the emergency up to a maximum of $50,000; purchase or mitigate the loss of raw materials up to a maximum of $10,000; and subsidize operational expenses — water, electricity, rent and payroll — for one month up to a maximum of $10,000, according to Administrative Order 2022-010.

The order that DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre signed creates the Economic Recovery Program to which it allocated $2 million from the Economic Incentives Fund under of Act No. 60-2019, known as the Puerto Rico Incentives Code.

“The DDEC, as a government agency in charge of promoting and implementing public policy for economic development in Puerto Rico, has the inescapable duty to assist those businesses affected by the passage of Hurricane Fiona,” Cidre said.

“We’re committed to our small and medium businesses, so we will continue to identify alternatives that help mitigate the losses or additional expenses that our SMEs have had to incur, to continue providing the necessary support in response to the emergency that we face,” he said.

The DDEC will also waive rent payments to its commercial tenants who can prove damages from Hurricane Fiona, he said.

Meanwhile, Cidre authorized the granting of up to $5,000 to be used as a contribution or early payment of emergency loans from the Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank.

EDB President Luis Alemañy said the agency is offering emergency financing options in the wake of the storm.

“Economic benefits granted by the DDEC can be considered as a source of income and we’ll match the amount in a line of credit or loan with competitive interest rates starting from 4%,” said Alemañy.

“We’ll have the option for new and current customers who are affected to request a moratorium of 30 to 90 days to make their payments. Interested business can submit a request via email,” he said. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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