Friday 5 March 2021

Government shows disinterest with economic reactivation

Opposition claims the absence of initiatives for economic recovery and generation of employment

QCOSTARICA – The economic reactivation of the country and the generation of employment are not a priority for the Government.

President Carlos Alvarado has not yet demonstrated the robust agenda of bills for economic reactivation that he promised for more than a year according to opposition legislators. File photo.

This is clear from a review of the calls for bills to the extraordinary sessions of the Legislative Assembly that the Executive Power that began on December 1.

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In total, it has convened 52 bills, of which only 6 have a justification -direct or indirect- related to actions to reactivate the economy.

Without detracting from their importance, the rest of the law initiatives do not respond to a sense of urgency given the economic, fiscal, and social crisis that Costa Rica is experiencing.

The current period of extraordinary sessions – in which the Executive has control of the legislative agenda – will last for 8 months, the government of Carlos Alvarado having the opportunity to push a strong agenda to get Costa Rica out of the deep crisis it is going through.

Opposition legislator Pedro Muñoz, of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), summarized the absence of proposals for economic reactivation, in this way.

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“December arrived and here we continue talking about the same issues. Asking the same questions, dealing with the same cosmetic issues and structural issues are absent,” he said.

According to tMuñoz, the agenda of bills proposed by the Executive makes legislators “accomplices of this network that disguises the worst intentions of mediocrity.”

“Don Carlos Alvarado keeps kicking the ball until the Costa Ricans can’t take it anymore. Why does Don Carlos refuse to present a serious agenda that solves the fundamentals? How many Costa Ricans daily join unemployment, hunger, despair? It seems that the Executive Branch has the firm intention of making all citizens depend on alms to survive,” said PUSC legislator.

The legislator urged a political agreement on at least three issues:

  • Real reforms to state employment.
  • Renegotiation of public debt.
  • Plan to ignite the economy.

“It is essential to allow rates, taxes, barriers and charges to be lowered to national production,” he said.

For his part, opposition legislator Roberto Thompson of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), accused the government of demonstrating, once again, absolute disinterest and inability to set a route for economic reactivation.

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He mentioned that in the Legislative Economic Affairs Commission – which he chairs – there is an agenda of 96 bills, only 16 of which are related to economic reactivation.

“Of all that group of projects, only two were originally summoned to the extraordinary session,” he said.

He described it as “very regrettable that we continue to lose valuable time and without taking advantage of the work of the Legislative Assembly.”

“We hope that future calls will include projects of significance for the country. The truth is that as time passes, the situation worsens, and as time passes, it is more urgent to make decisions,” he added.

It’s not just the major political parties in opposition critical of the government’s disinterest in reviving the economy, independent legislators such as Zoila Volio said that the Executive seems to be missing “a golden opportunity” to call bills to reactivate the economy, tourism, investment and exports.

“When reviewing the two calls that have been made to date, unfortunately, there are 10 or fewer projects that may have any implication or effect on these issues that are a priority for the country,” she claimed.

She argued that economic reactivation and job creation are urgent, but that is not reflected in the bills called by the Executive.

Volio cited as an example that the government did not launch its initiative to promote the medicinal use of cannabis and the industrial production of hemp.

“It was not called, despite the fact that it is a great opportunity to generate employment, investment and exports,” he said.

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