Lawmaker says government threatens Depósito Libre

A legislator said Tuesday that the central government is seeking to change the rules for customers of the Depósito Libre Comercial de Golfito.

The Depósito is the place where Costa Ricans and residents can find tax-free items frequently at a 50 percent discount. The sales outlet is a mecca for those seeking household appliances, vehicle tires, cosmetics and alcohol.

Olivier Jiménez Rojas, the Partido Liberación Nacional lawmaker, told the legislature Tuesday that the government was trying to place more restrictions on the use of the Depósito. He said that the executive branch is trying to reduce the types of articles sold there and cut down on the quantity that shoppers may buy.

The Depósito was set up to bring money to the area after a banana shipper shut down.

Those who shop there must arrive and obtain a ticket that is only good as of the following day. For that reason they must overnight in the area.

Each person is then entitled to make $1,000 in purchases, and family members can combine their limit to make $2,000 in purchases.

Jiménez called the area the poorest in Costa Rica. He said the government’s action would mean the technical closure of the Depósito.

He said the government was trying to restrict purchases to one every six month even if the shopper has not used the full amount of the $1,000 entitlement.

The lawmaker did not really specify who in the government was doing this, but he made an indirect reference to the Ministerio de Hacienda, which includes the tax department.

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