Government acts to shake up, restructure agencies

The central government has taken strong action against three major institutions.

Casa Presidencial said Wednesday that the current board of directors for the southern zone development agency has been sacked and new persons from that area were named to fill the vacant seats. This is the  Junta de Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur, which also operates the Depósito Libre Comercial in Golfito.

Casa Presidencial also announced the creation of a new entity, the  Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura, which would eliminate the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, and the Consejo de  Concesiones, the entity that oversees and approved private concessions of public property like the Caldera highway.

President Luis Gullermo Solís promised to eliminate the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad during his campaign.

The board of the southern zone development agency has been under fire for some time. There have been negative reports from the Contraloria General de la República, the budget watchdog, and a special committee set up to study the situation.

The central government said it was making sure that the Depósito Libre Comercial was not seriously affected by the decision.

This is the place where many Costa Ricans and expats go to get tax-free and low-tax big ticket items, like appliances. Christmas is a big season. The Deposito was designed to bring cash to the southern zone after banana operations closed down.

The development agency is involved with the cantons of  Corredores, Osa, Buenos Aires, Coto Brus and Golfito.

The  Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura will be the subject of a proposed law presented to the legislature early next year, said Casa Presidencial. The new agency would be headed by a vice minister in the Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes.

Both the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the Consejo de  Concesiones have been the subject of much criticism. The presidential action is seem as a way to improve the structure and streamline the agencies.

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