Government’s goal for 2015 is 4 percent growth

The president’s economic panel said Monday that it seeks a 4 percent growth for Costa Rica in 2015.

The panel, the Consejo Económico, is one of three specialized advisory groups that have been set up by President Luis Guillermo Solís. The panel said that the economic growth would come from public investments with local and foreign money, from foreign direct investment and incentives to generate employment in the short term.

The panel is off to a good start because construction of the APM container handling facility in Moín is expected to begin in the next 30 days. Eventually this will be a $1 billion job.

The country saw about 3.7 percent growth in 2014.

The Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean said that the nation’s unemployment rate in 2014 was 8.4 percent. The U.N. agency also predicted that growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will rebound to 2.2 percent in 2015.

In 2014, average regional growth was just 1.1 percent, marking the smallest expansion since 2009, said the commission. Central America plus Haiti and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean grew 3.7 percent, it said. Growth in 2015 is predicted to be just above 4 percent, it added.

The percentages varied widely by country. Growth figures are based on an estimate of gross domestic product, the total of all goods and services.

The presidential economics panel also acted to create a committee to follow investment projects. That committee will have representatives from the Banco Central, the Ministerio de Planificación and the Ministerio de Hacienda.

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