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Government Owes $8 Million To 12 PRMA Members

Survey Results To Be Used To Require Agencies To Comply With Prompt-Payment Law


May 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Preliminary results from a survey by the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA) indicate that the government of Puerto Rico owes $8 million to the first 12 members who returned a questionnaire.

"The law requires the government to pay its suppliers promptly," said PRMA Research & Legislative Director Jose Muratti. "The Prompt Payment Law was enacted in 1989, requiring the government to pay its accounts within 20 days, but we know this hasn’t been enforced."

PRMA Executive Vice President William Riefkohl requested the survey, which asks the association’s membership for information on the receivables due for over six months. Less than two weeks into the survey, combined outstanding receivables of $8 million, with one company alone being owed nearly $2 million.

"The PRMA is trying to find out how many companies are affected so we can approach the government with specific information and ask it to comply with its promise to improve the private sector’s economic development," said Muratti. "If you are one of the principal buyers, you can’t undermine these efforts by refusing to pay your own supplier. You can’t say you support local industry and then not pay promptly those who sell you products and services."

Muratti recently joined the PRMA full time to oversee the association’s member services, making them more available and identifying new ones. "There are some services that aren’t as relevant today as they were perhaps 20 years ago," said Muratti.

"Young people today have a different attitude toward entrepreneurship. Job security may have been more important in the past, whereas today it is the challenge of establishing your own business and keeping it said Muratti. "This is where the PRMA has to become more proactive and keep abreast of the needs that our members identify, so they can be more competitive and not only supply multinational companies with products and services but also procure contract manufacturing."

One of PRMA’s upcoming events is the Puerto Rico Trade Fair at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. So far, 37 local companies have signed up for the event, most of them in the food & beverage industry. Part of the screening process for participation was that the company had to be ready to market and export two products for distribution in 22 Wal-Mart retail stores in Chicago, Miami, and New York within the next three to six months. First-year sales for each local company are estimated at $1 million or more.

"A highlight of the Wal-Mart trade fair is a luncheon for 2,000 that will be prepared with products from Puerto Rico. We hope to impress Wal-Mart’s sales force, including company president H. Lee Scott," said Muratti.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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