Costa Rica seeks advice on public investment

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Beginning this Wednesday, the first installment of the International Congress on Project Management of Public Investment will be held in the country to include international specialists and members of different Costa Rican state institutions.

The event is intended to address central themes related to the Latin American region but officials from the Ministerio de Hacienda are looking to put a Costa Rican twist on the agenda particularly in the area of public infrastructure.

The talks are bringing some heavyweights in Costa Rican public policy. Helio Fallas, the first vice president and the finance minister, will open the event and President Luis Guillermo Solís will close it. The well-known Costa Rican journalist, Glenda Umaña, is expected to moderate the two-day series of meetings as well.

Experts from the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica will also be present, the finance ministry said.

The objective of the activity is to identify the best practices in Latin America, the Caribbean and Costa Rica, in order to reach consensus on the need to improve project management in terms of quality, efficiency and transparency, a government statement said. This is for the country to achieve higher levels of competitiveness, equity and quality of life for Costa Ricans, said Fidel Jaramillo, the representative for the Inter-American Development Bank in Costa Rica.

The bank said that low investments in infrastructure relative to the percentages of the region’s gross domestic product were confounding the execution and planning of improvements. In 2013, capital expenditures reached 1.6 percent of GDP, Fallas said. From 2014 to 2016, the percentage has raised to 1.8 percent due in large part to outsourcing the public projects to private contractors.

“However, if the country decides to sustain the increase in the next few years, it will have to add two fundamental components: to conclude the approval process for the projects that make up the proposal for the strengthening of the Hacienda Pública and to promote the public-private partnership,” Fallas concluded.

The talks will be broadcast live on the finance ministry’s Facebook page.

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