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 Former Finance Minister of Ukraine Jaresko to lead Puerto Rico out of crisis

Natalie Jaresko, American-born former Ukrainian finance minister, has been hired by the U.S. to steer the Caribbean island out of crisis.

Censor.NET reports citing Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Natalie Jaresko served at a critical time in Ukraine's history from 2014 to 2016 as it faced a deep recession and insolvency.

"Ukraine's situation three years ago -- like Puerto Rico's today -- was near catastrophic, but she worked with stakeholders to bring needed reforms that restored confidence, economic vitality, and reinvestment in the country and its citizens. That's exactly what Puerto Rico needs today," said Jose Carrion, the chairman of a U.S. board overseeing the finances of the bankrupt territory of Puerto Rico.

Jaresko also announced her appointment on Facebook.

"I am honored and humbled to be taking on a new, critically important position to put Puerto Rico back on a path to fiscal stability. As of March 22, 2017, I have been named Executive Director (CEO) of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, established under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Signed into U.S. law last June, PROMESA establishes an oversight board, a debt restructuring process and expedited procedures for approving critical infrastructure projects in order to create the necessary foundation for economic growth and to restore opportunity to the people of Puerto Rico. The Board is tasked with assessing and certifying annual budgets and a fiscal recovery plan presented by the island's government and facilitating debt restructuring talks on the island. As Executive Director, I am responsible for, in coordination with the Board, setting strategy and overseeing execution of the strategy, while working with the myriad of stakeholders (public and private sector interests in the US and Puerto Rico, the media and the general public).

"The challenges that lie ahead are indeed great. Puerto Rico is suffering from years of fiscal deficits and the related debt burden. Yet, the opportunities are equally great based on the steps foreseen in the certified fiscal plan to restore liquidity and debt sustainability. Implementation of this plan will be a first step in returning stability and confidence to investors and Puerto Rico's 3.5 million U.S. citizens. These steps, coupled with structural reforms to improve the competitiveness of the economy and focused economic growth strategies to build on Puerto Rico's comparative strengths, can build the economy's resilience, attract new investments, create jobs, and produce growth and increased living standards over time for the people of Puerto Rico.

Read more: Jaresko dismissed as PM candidate due to her intention to limit oligarch benefits, - deputy Rada speaker Syroid

"Ukraine's experience during my term as Ukraine's Minister of Finance from 2014-2016 offers an example of recovery from difficult financial straits. Combining fiscal austerity, debt restructuring, and structural reforms, we were able to return the economy from the brink of financial disaster to stability and growth. From real GDP decline of almost 10% in 2015 to growth of just over 2.0% in 2016; from public spending of over 50% of GDP in 2014 to just over 44% in 2015; from inflation of over 25% in 2014 to just over 12% in 2016. Notwithstanding the war, Ukraine was able to combine fiscal, monetary and economic policies to begin rebuilding its economy after decades of mismanagement. I bring this experience and the lessons learned with me to Puerto Rico with faith that working together, all the stakeholders will be able to put Puerto Rico back on a healthy economic and financial path.

"I thank the PROMESA Board for its confidence in me and look forward to working with the Board, the Governor and government of Puerto Rico and all stakeholders to repair, restore and revitalize the economy of Puerto Rico and return prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico.

"I am also proud that today for one of the first times a Ukrainian has been appointed to a high-level public international financial position. Just as many East Europeans are already playing valuable roles at the World Bank, the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, UN, NATO, and other institutions, Ukrainians will play an ever greater role in international public policy based on our valuable experience, education, talent and dedication.

Read more: Abromavicius supports Jaresko's principles for government forming

"I remain committed to working to develop values-based leadership in Ukraine via my role as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Aspen Institute Kyiv. I will also continue as a member of the Lviv Business School (Ukrainian Catholic University) Advisory Board and as a Nonresident Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

"I have worked for Ukraine's success every day for the past 25 years and will continue to do so in every way possible going forward," she wrote.

Jaresko was born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants and previously worked for the U.S. State Department and the Horizon Capital fund.

As Ukraine's finance minister, she helped negotiate a deal to restructure the country's $15 billion debt.

Jaresko will be paid $625,000 a year, and will commute from Ukraine once a month until June, with all flights and hotel stays to be paid for by Puerto Rico.

Carrion said Jaresko will be responsible for ensuring that Puerto Rico achieves a balanced budget within four years and is granted re-entry into the capital markets after credit rating agencies downgraded the island's debt to junk status.
 
 
 
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