The government of Puerto Rico released its audited financial statement for Fiscal 2016, as required by the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board, revealing a deficit of $70.3 billion, primarily as a result of debt accrued by public servants’ retirement programs.
The programs had a combined debt of $42 billion, at the time, which is the total amount of funds the government’s retirement plans should have if it were to pay its responsibilities in full, the administration stated in a release.
Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Raúl Maldonado said the catastrophic events the island faced in 2017 and its effects on the Treasury’s IT infrastructure were major challenges in the process of getting the documents out.
As the debt restructuring proceedings under PROMESA’s Title III progressed and agreements were reached, the government’s projections had to be reworked as a result, further delaying the completion of the reports, he said.
In fiscal year 2016, Puerto Rico’s revenue versus expenditures saw a difference of $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, sales tax revenue increased, he said.
Treasury estimates it will release financial statements for fiscal year 2017 between September and October, while data for 2018 will be handed over to the Oversight Board by March next year.
“Healthcare, education and safety are priorities for us,” said Maldonado. “This is not negotiable.”
“In keeping with our promise of transparency and to ensure accountability, we are working toward complying with any and all requirements set forth by Congress,” said Anthony Maceira, public affairs secretary for the government of Puerto Rico.
“In the coming months and years, we will continue to deliver the government’s financial statement as we strive to generate savings that will ensure a healthy economy for the benefit of all Puerto Ricans,” he said.