Lawmakers authorize $4 billion in bond issues over 10 years

There was just one negative vote Thursday afternoon when lawmakers voted to float some $4 billion in bonds on the international market. That was the second and final vote.

The only person voting against the measure was José María Villalta Florez- Estrada of Frente Amplio, who said that the government had not fully explained the benefits of the deal.

The approval gives the Ministerio de Hacienda the right to issue $1 billion in bonds each year. The money is supposed to pay off internal debt and refinance international debt that now earns a higher interest rate.

The measure earned support from 41 lawmakers.

Edgar Ayales, the minister of Hacienda, thanked lawmakers in
a press release issued shortly after the affirmative vote and said that his ministry would hurry to complete the bond issue as soon as possible.

Some expats have expressed fears that the inflow of more dollars into Costa Rica would negatively affect the exchange rate with the colon. Although the government can issue $1 billion in bonds a year, officials do not have to.

They have 10 years to issue the full $4 billion.

Members of the executive branch say that much of the money will be used to refinance existing debt. If that is the case, there will be no extra pressure on the dollar here. However, a large amount of money in the hands of government officials will be highly attractive to elected officials who have pet plans and for President Laura Chinchilla, who has been frustrated with not having money to do certain needed projects.

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