Government under fire from many sides over finances

The Solís administration is being characterized as a ship adrift. Politicians and news outlets are zeroing in on the administration, perhaps motivated by distaste for the proposed new taxes.

Repretel, the news channel, reported Wednesday on salaries of up to 13 million colons a month that are being paid to top state bank officials. That’s about $24,500 a month. Members of the boards of directors of some state institutions get up to 220,000 colons a meeting, some $417, and there are a handful of meetings every months.

Bank spokespersons reply that the money is not public funds but generated by the bank operations.

Politicians from two political parties, including Ottón Solís of the president’s own Partido Acción Ciudadana, have joined in the criticism. The politicians say that salaries of this magnitude are disproportionate to Costa Rica’s standard of living. Bank officials also get health annual bonuses, and both bank officers and members of boards of directors receive the aguinaldo at Christmas representing a month’s pay.

Rolando González Ulloa, a Partido Liberación Nacional lawmaker, raised the issue on the floor of the legislature when he cited what he said were a sea of contradictions  in the way the government is navigating the country. Continuing the marine analogy, he said the government lacked direction and a course.

The online financial publication Central American Data tore into the government  Wednesday with an editorial that said the agency involved in a failed oil refinery project with China continues to spend significant funds.

“The board of the company can not even agree on the 2015 budget, yet they are still paying international salaries, traveling backwards and forwards across the world, and paying the cost of materials and contracts to third parties,” the publication said of Soresco, the joint venture between local Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery and the Chinese national petroleum company.

La Nación, a leading Spanish-language daily, reported today that the refinery project spent $30.5 million over the last six years.

Ottón Solís has been the leader in a mostly unsuccessful effort to have the central government make substantial budget cuts.

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