New finance minister promises to restore public’s optimism

The new finance minister was before lawmakers Tuesday explaining proposed budget increases and promising more transparency in his ministry.

The minister is Edgar Ayales, who said he promised to give his best effort so that Costa Ricans can regain their optimism over government. Ayales got the job after the former finance minister and the head of the ministry’s tax collecting agency were revealed as having tax problems themselves.

Ayales also said that covering expenses with debt was not wise even though the government must do so now. He said that debt is one of the three pillars of the administration. The others are an improvement in tax collection and reduced spending.

He urged lawmakers to pass four bills, including one to
improve tax collection. Others promote fiscal transparency and more efficient management of public finances.

The budget amendment would provide funds for road work in the country’s cantons. There also is a measure to prevent violence by encouraging social inclusion and by increasing the efficiency of the Fuerza Pública. A third measure would improve infrastructure in protected forest areas for the benefit of tourists who visit them.

Ayales also disputed the claims of Jorge Rojas, director for the Judicial Investigating Organization. Rojas said Ayales Ministerio de Hacienda had cut the investigative agency’s budget. Ayales said the budget had been increased but that it was the responsibility of the Poder Judicial to distribute the money among its agencies.

He testified before the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios.

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