The Ministra de Hacienda (Minister of Finance), Rocío Aguilar, ruled out resigning after the agreement signed by the Government, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) and the unions to keep the worker incentives intact.
“I am committed to my work. As long as I can contribute to the country with my work, I will continue to do so, in the meantime, I have the president’s confidence,” Aguilar said Wednesday.
When asked if she intends to talk with the president of the CCSS, Román Macaya, about the agreement he signed with the health sector unions on Monday, she said that it is the president who is responsible for making such calls and not for her.
To better understand this, Macaya, on behalf of the CCSS, had signed in February a deal with the 17 unions represented the country’s public health sector, to allow them to keep their ‘pluses’ (bonuses and incentives) this after the Plan Fiscal or Tax Reform had come into effect two months earlier, in December 18, that would effectively eliminate or reduce ‘pluses’.
At the beginning of last week, the health sector workers unions called on their membership to a strike, responding to the government’s plans to enforce the Plan Fiscal. After eight days of work stoppage by more than 25% of the public sector workers, a deal was struck to basically maintain the pluses and let the courts decide if the Ley de Fortalecimiento de las Finanzas Públicas would apply to them.
The deal had the support of the central government, which means the tax reform would not be applied to this group of public sector employees until the courts rule, as per the agreement, a process that can take up to five years.
In this regard, the minister reiterated her disagreement with the agreement but warned that, from a budgetary point of view, it is up to the Comptroller General to review whether the institutions comply with the legal provisions
On Tuesday, the Comptroller General, Marta Acosta, expressed concern about the agreement signed between the CCSS and the unions.
“Concerning this Comptroller that, at this crucial moment, the fundamental purpose forged with the effort of different sectors is being broken, because the economic and social balance is the responsibility of all sectors without exception,” said Acosta
“The decision makers are inconsistent with the positions they are taking with respect to CCSS, universities and municipalities, related to the implementation of the (tax) reform and the tax rule, which in the short and medium term can bring serious economic and social consequences for the country,” she said.
Minister Aguilar acknowledged that the government has had the support of society to carry out tax reform and, therefore, believes that a climate of distrust will not be generated either in citizens or in markets.
“Everyone knows that the country made a decision, that it has a law, that it will be enforced, that it has its difficulties, but all markets can be sure that we as a government will be complying with the law with the sole purpose of stabilizing the public finances,” said Aguilar.
Will Aguilar be quitting? Not for the moment.