President Luis Guillermo Solis shakes off criticism following his Tuesday evening’s television address to the nation that Costa Rica is facing a serious liquidity problem.
At the Basilica de Los Angeles in Cartago Wednesday morning, after morning mass, President Solis responded with impatience and turned the question over to his Minister of Finance, standing at his side, at one reporter’s insistence on the matter, pushing the President as to why his government hasn’t done enough to balance the country’s finances.
Solis claims there he longer sees where to cut, that he did make efforts to reduce expenses.
However, the television reported kept on pressing, asking the president why he did not cut salaries in the public sector, a reform that opponents in the legislative assembly have asked him to do before discussing tax increases.
The President responded, “I think you should have studied the numbers well before asking that question,” and turned and directed to question to Helio Fallas, his minister of Finance “who has the exact numbers”.
Minutes later he told the insisting reporter and said, “there are (legislative) bills, that we cannot agree on the many conditions.”
“No one wants Costa Rica to resemble Greece, Italy or Spain in 2018 (in reference to the financial crises that these countries experienced). The efforts today will be less than in the future,” he told a news conference after August 2 ceremony, outside the perimeters of the Basilica.
The President is being heavily criticized for increasing spending by 19% during the first year of his administration, but Solis rejected the criticism by saying, “There has been no government in last ten years that has cut more expenses than ours, in salaries, pensions, collective agreements.”
During the impromptu press conference, Solis praised his minister of Finance, saying “that, despite everything, Helio Fallas has been ‘heroic’ in preventing the crisis from happening earlier”.
“We have postponed the possible impacts for a long time, we have made huge efforts so that the people did not suffer the impact of a (financial) crisis that w said would be if there was no new income and that is what has happened,” said the President.
To solve the immediate financial crunch, in Tuesday’s televised address, the President said payments would be prioritized to most important, such as payment of (government) debt, public salaries, and pensions, followed by transfers to (state) institutions that are in the most need and made call to legislators to approve the placement of government bonds abroad.
This morning, Thursday, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) was the first to come out publicly saying it faces a financial crisis in the education system if the government does not make its usual transfer of payments, missing ¢5 billion colones to pay suppliers and services. Part of the MEP expenses is to provide daily meals to students.