Puerto Rico gover­nor de­clares pay­ment mora­to­rium

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico— Puerto Rico Gov. Ale­jan­dro Gar­cia Padilla has ex­panded an emer­gency debt mora­to­rium that he said would pro­tect the govern­ment’s abil­ity to pro­vide es­sen­tial ser­vices amid a wors­en­ing eco­nomic out­look.

The gover­nor has signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that halts notes pay­ments by the Puerto Rico In­fras­truc­ture Fi­nanc­ing Au­thor­ity. He said the move was nec­es­sary to “en­sure the pub­lic health, safety, ed­u­ca­tion and well-be­ing” of is­land res­i­dents.

The gover­nor en­acted a mora­to­rium on other fi­nanc­ing au­thor­ity debt in April and has de­clared fis­cal emer­gen­cies at the Govern­ment De­vel­op­ment Bank and Puerto Rico High­way and Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity.

Puerto Rico cred­i­tors are chal­leng­ing through three sep­a­rate law­suits a law that grants the gover­nor the power to de­clare debt pay­ment mora­to­ri­ums.

The most re­cent chal­lenge was filed by a group of gen­eral obli­ga­tion bond­hold­ers in New York fed­eral court on Tues­day af­ter the ter­ri­tory an­nounced the col­lapse of debt talks with a group of senior cred­i­tors.

Dur­ing a fo­rum in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on Thurs­day, the gover­nor re­it­er­ated that Puerto Rico lacked the money to cover nearly $2 bil­lion in bond pay­ments that come due July 1 and would have to de­fault.—AP

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