Puerto Rico Governor signs Permitting Reform Act
Governor Ricardo Rosselló signed the Permitting Reform Act (Law 19-2017) earlier this month. The Act seeks to streamline the permitting process for businesses and promote new investments, job creation, and economic development in the Island.
“A few weeks ago we introduced this bill, which now becomes law, to continue promoting economic development and reduce government red tape. It is part of our efforts, and our promise, to turn Puerto Rico into an attractive destination for investment,” Rosselló said during the signing ceremony.
The new law consolidates the process to obtain a permit, certification of fire prevention, environmental health, licenses, and authorizations into one Single Permit, in order to expedite the process.
“This piece of legislation is a necessary structural reform that increases our competitiveness and puts us in a better position to attract foreign investment,” said Ricardo Álvarez-Díaz, president of the Builders Association of Puerto Rico.
Small and mid-sized businesses will be able to obtain the Single Permit automatically.
The law also creates the Unified Information System, which integrates all requirements to do business in Puerto Rico into a single website (One Stop-PR Doing Business). This website allows users to apply for both state and municipal permits and licenses online, through one single website.
In Puerto Rico, obtaining a construction permit used to take on average 165 days and involved 20 separate processes. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, Puerto Rico is currently listed 131 out of 190 countries in the ease of obtaining a building permit.
Carlos Mercader, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, D.C., stated ¨This law is another step taken by Governor Rosselló’s administration to create a path for economic growth. ¨