The business community’s perception of the future is off slightly, according to a survey reflecting opinions in the first three months of the year. And part of the concern is the soaring rate of regulated utilities, according to the chamber that has been taking the survey for the last 17 years.
The survey of 499 firms reported the average confidence to be 5.3 on a 10-point scale, six-tenths of a point lower than the same period in 2012, said the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado.
The chamber also said that business leaders were also anxious of the slow pace of approval of the trade accord between Central America and the European Union. Costa Rican lawmakers have passed the agreement for the first time, but the final vote is awaiting an opinion by the Sala IV constitutional court, the chamber noted. The business community’s confidence level remained at 6,7, according to the survey results.
The chamber in its interpretation of the results said that the price of electricity has increased 42 percent and water has gone up 58 percent.
It said that an index of prices of services regulated by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos has gone up 16 percent in the last 12 months while unregulated prices have increased just 3.73 percent. Both electrical power and water markets are dominated by government agencies.
The chamber called upon the legislature to pass a proposal that would allow private generation of electricity, mainly from renewable sources.
The chamber also called on the Autoridad to revise its methodology that is used to compute the prices of regulated utilities.