Above: Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has signed a bill aiming to boost small and medium-sized enterprises on the island.
The new law has several provisions: it reserves part of government purchases for local businesses, encourages the integration of professional and new entrepeneurs and gives priority to SMEs “in discretionary public funds to subsidize payroll for new jobs or existing ones,” Garcia Padilla’s office said in a statement.
The bill, called the “Support for Microenterprise, Small and Medium Merchant Act” amends the island’s Procurement Reserve Act to 20 percent, and establishes a reserve of 60 percent for SMEs when granting subsidies under the Law of Security in Employment.
“This bill is for SMEs what the Law of Incentives for Economic Development and previous industrial incentive laws were for manufacturing in Puerto Rico. That’s how important it is,” the Governor said in a statement. “The country is undergoing the biggest transformation in its recent history.”
According to government data, 95 percent of companies in Puerto Rico are SMEs with 50 or fewer employees, and they employ around 25 percent of the jobs on the island.
“The path to sustainable economic development will necessarily have to include SMEs,” he said. “Encouraging SMEs is to boost local production and wealth creation that circulates and remains in the country.”
The government said the law also creates a board to support small retailers, among other aspects, and amends the country’s permitting act to grant permits for conditional or temporary activities that “pose no risk to health, the environment or security and conforms to the zoning requirements.”
“Our economic recovery is tied to the recovery of our SMEs,” the Governor said.