The president proposed a series of steps Sunday night that are designed to improve the national economy. Nearly half of the proposals are based on borrowed money.
The president, Luis Guilermo Solís, appeared upbeat and smiling as he spoke to the nation on the weekly Cadena Nacional. Major stations did not air the nearly seven minute presentation. Instead there was soccer and dancing on channels 6 and 7.
Solís said that the economy already was improving and cited statistics that showed unemployment was 9.5 percent. He cited a Banco Central statistic that said national production had increased 2.1 percent.
Eliminating the production of free zones, the increase is 3 percent in the last four months, said the president.
The president promised this major statement on the economy Thursday. He plans to amplify the 10 proposals at a press conference today.
Top on the list were two projects that would benefit tourism. The president said that as of January a ferry service would begin between the Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica and Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador. This would cut transportation time by trucks from three days to 20 hours and reduce the cst by a half, he said.
Second on the list was the $35 million convention center in Barreal de Heredia. Bids for construction would be sought before the end of the year, he said, adding that the center was expected to boost tourism by 4 percent.
He also said that the Consejo Nacional de Producción would increase purchases from small and medium producers by 10 billion colons ($19 million) this year and in 2016.
In nine months the Banca para el Desarrollo will double to 200 billion colons ($379
million) the amount allocated for loans to small business operators, he said. This would benefit 70,000 persons, he added.
Next year the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje will create some 21,648 new spots for the institute’s training classes, Solís added.
The government in 2016 will make an effort to begin work on some $650 million in infrastructure based on external financing, he said.
He also promised that paperwork would be simplified and that the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental would have a group of professionals designated before the end of the year to give priority to public works project plans. Before the end of the year, the same Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental would begin a system of certification of those involved in the creation of private projects, he added.
The president also promised to speed up within 90 days the system of granting sanitary permits to activities of low risk and that the permits would have automatic renewal for five years, he said.
The final proposal was to simplify the paperwork in registering products of low risk, cosmetics and foods to reduce the processing time from 30 days to only five. Such approval is required for new products and the importation of products from abroad.
The speech is available HERE!