Saturday, 4 July 2020

Government announces subsidies of ¢200,000 monthly to families affected by the coronavirus crisis

President Carlos Alvarado announced on Friday a plan to give a ¢200,000 per month subsidy,  for at least three months, to 375,000 families economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pilar Garrido, Minister of Planning (left) and Rodrigo Chaves, Chief of Finance (right), listening to President Carlos Alvarado at the press conference Friday announcing his proposal for the ‘aporte solidario’. Photo courtesy Presidencia

The aid would be granted to people who are laid off, whose working hours have been reduced, independent workers with a decrease in income and the informal sector.

For this, the Executive will send to the Legislative Assembly an extraordinary budget request for ¢225 billion, financed with ¢100 billion from the government’s budget and keeping fuel prices at a fixed rate, with the intention of the government collecting the differential.

- paying the bills -

“We would be fixing the price of fuels, which has been discussed with the legislators and there is a consensus, that since there has been a reduction (in fuel prices … this surplus we can give, in solidarity, to the families that need it during the emergency,” explained the president.

In other words, due to the worldwide pandemic, oil prices have dropped drastically and that is being reflected in fuel prices at the pumps in Costa Rica. The government would maintain fuel prices higher than that requested by the Recope to make up the difference to finance the subsidy.

The proposal is expected to be presented this coming week and quick approval.

According to the government, the number of families that would need a subsidy could rise and exceed 600,000 (in Costa Rica there are 1.5 million households).

To define who qualifies for the subsidy, the government would rely on instruments such as the payroll reports of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the Single System of State Beneficiaries (Sinirube).

- paying the bills -

The table of this solidarity contribution is not defined, but the Treasury gave examples: a person with a monthly salary of ¢1.1 million would contribute ¢10,000. One of ¢1.5 million, ¢50,000 and one of ¢2 million, ¢100,000 and more for people with even higher salaries.

The president stated that it is still too early to know how many families will be affected, and for how long, by the financial situation caused by the covid-19.

The proposal has generated opposite opinions, from those who believe the government can ill afford this type of program and many who don’t believe the money will actually get to the most needed; to, applauding the efforts of the Alvarado administration, to several comments on social networks of wanting to make a contribution to the ‘aporte solidario’ though they earn less than a million monthly.


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