The Government of Puerto Rico, in collaboration with Invest Puerto Rico, recently hosted an event to educate the investor community about the many benefits of Opportunity Zones.
Created under the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the new incentive was developed to encourage long-term investments in low-income communities to promote economic development in distressed areas.
The summit, aptly named “Puerto Rico: a paradise of opportunities”, brought together a sizeable group of stateside and international investors, who gathered to hear firsthand, from local and federal government officials and local private sector representatives, what the near future holds for those interested in taking advantage of this opportune economic development tool.
The event effectively set the stage for various important developments.
First, it provided a forum for high-ranking officials from the US Department of the Treasury to share valuable, timely information about how to structure Opportunity Zone investments and what social and tax benefits investors may yield from said investments. Receiving information directly from Treasury officials builds investor confidence and showcases the favorable relations between the local and federal governments, both critical factors to ensure Opportunity Zones reach their potential for economic and social impact.
Second, it gave Governor Ricardo Rosselló an opportunity to better explain how Opportunity Zones plays into his administration’s economic development agenda. Additionally, the Governor took advantage of his time on stage to sign into law, Senate Bill 1147, the Opportunity Zones Development Act. With the signing of this bill into law, the Governor effectively makes Puerto Rico the best place in the nation for investment by enhancing the benefits of the federal program for investors.
Third, and perhaps most important, several key players from the private and non-profit sectors were invited to join the conversation on stage. Important discussions took place around how the local banking sector can assist investors to take advantage of Opportunity Zones, how community-based organizations can contribute to identify needs and maximize the social benefits of the program and how the private sector can effectively partner with the local government to showcase investment opportunities and drive deals.
The way I see it, the Opportunity Zones program can become a powerful catalyst that would create substantial economic development for the Island. This potential new capital can provide the necessary resources for large scale infrastructure, commercial and housing projects, allowing for the job creation and economic activity that Puerto Rico seeks.
By combining the use of short-term federal recovery funding and long term investment opportunities, Puerto Rico can lay a solid foundation towards a sustainable economic development transformation. Opportunity Zones provide a promising tool to increase our competitiveness as an investment destination and create a sustainable path forward for economic growth.
Thanks to the effective collaboration between Invest Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, the Puerto Rico Public Private Partnerships Authority, the Office of the Chief Investment Officer, and the Central Office of Recovery and Reconstruction, all of which worked together to make this successful event happen. Our island now stands ready to welcome investors that can take advantage of the Opportunity Zones Act and continue to develop Puerto Rico as a true paradise of opportunities.