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Change Of Command In Government Financial Posts

EDB’s future to be determined under Faria


June 20, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Several key government financial posts have changed hands as a result of Gov. Sila Calderon’s sweeping restructuring of her cabinet last week.

The leadership change at the Economic Development Bank (EDB) in particular is expected to have near-term effects on the outcome of the ongoing debate over the EDB’s future.

Contrary to his predecessor, Maria Fuentes Pujols, the EDB’s new president, Antonio Faria, is expected to be more amenable to the proposed reintegration of the EDB as a subsidiary of the Government Development Bank (GDB).

Administration officials are considering the move as a leading option for maintaining the solvency of the institution, which finds itself struggling to overcome the effects of exorbitant loan losses and of the impending withdrawal of its remaining $500 million in Internal Revenue Code Section 936-related deposits by February 2003.

The EDB also had reportedly been plagued by internal rancor and by declining morale during the tenure of Fuentes Pujols, who implemented severe belt-tightening measures in recent months.

Faria told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that Gov. Calderon gave him a mandate to "set the bank on the course to fiscal health."

Faria was substituted as commissioner of Financial Institutions by Alfredo Padilla, his former deputy. The appointment of Padilla to the commissioner’s post was hailed by industry leaders such as Arturo Carrion of the Puerto Rico Bankers Association, who praised Padilla’s thorough knowledge of–and long years of experience in–the island’s banking sector.

Padilla said that as commissioner he plans to build on Faria’s accomplishments, which included increasing communication with industry leaders and innovative collaborative initiatives with other government agencies, such as the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) and the Department of Education.

Both Faria and Padilla will also interact with Dr. Hiram Ramirez Rangel, who has been named Gov. Calderon’s new Adviser for Economic Development and Finances. Ramirez Rangel replaced attorney Karolee Garcia in the post, which was reconfigured as part of a streamlining move among the governor’s core team of advisers.

Meanwhile, amid the changes, Government Development Bank (GDB) President Juan Agosto Alicea quashed rumors that he would step down from his position in order to oversee the implementation of the new management contract at the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority. The GDB was one of the few major agencies that didn’t experience significant changes as a result of the administration’s most recent reshuffling moves.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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