New bill would reduce size of the executive branch

A new proposed law would cap the number of ministries in the executive branch at 12. Depending on how they are counted, now there are at least 18 and perhaps 22.

Each ministry has its own administrative staff.

The author of the bill, Otto Guevara Guth, said that the measure would eliminate 45 boards of directors and the administrative staff of four superintendencies, including Pensiones, Entidades Financieras, Seguros and Valores.

The bill also would eliminate at least five boards of subsidiaries in the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

The presidential Web site lists 17 ministries now not counting the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo which is treated as a ministry. In addition, there is a bill in the legislative hopper to create a ministry of sports.

Guevara said that the idea came to him by analyzing other countries. Switzerland has only seven ministries, the United States 15 and Germany 15, he said, adding that he thought 12 could be just fine for Costa Rica.

The bill also would standardize the salaries of top government officials, including ministers.

A main purpose is to reduce what political figures have been complaining about for years, the lack of governability of the country. Many of those in high positions would serve at the pleasure of the president.

Guevara said that he would be working in the legislature to generate support for the measure.

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