COSTA RICA NEWS – The Government om Thursday announced the formation the Consejo Nacional de Competitividad e Innovación (National Competitiveness Council and Innovation) to minimize the drop in the number of jobs in the country lost in recent months.
The president of the Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica (Chambers of Industries), Enrique Egloff, confirmed that according to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (CCSS) – Social Security – some 6.000 jobs have been lost in the industrial sector in the last 19 months.
One of the problems facing industry in Costa Rica is the high costs in production, electricity rates topping the list with rate increases of more than 20%.
In a recent poll, almost half (46.3%) of the industrial sector believe this (electricity rates) is the factor that is affecting more than 56.3% of the industry, the other being the exchange rate. 19.2% and the high cost of financing.
The formation of the Council was announced by the President, Luis Guillermo Solis, in his report of 100 days and was made firmed up yesterday at the Casa Presidencial in a meeting with representatives of the private sector.
Second vice-president, Ana Helena Chacón, said that the Council will be divided in two: one part, “innovation”, which she will lead, and the second, “competitiveness”, that will be led by first-vice President and Minister of Finance, Helio Fallas.
Chacón said that the Council will report to the Consejo Presindecial (Cabinet) every two months on a series of actions. The vice-president also confirmed the creation of the Alianza para el Empleo y la Producción (Alliance for Jobs and Production), to be led by the Ministry of Labour and with the participation of business leaders from each of the production sectors.
The Council will be legally established by decree that is expected to be signed by President Solís next month.
In the last survey on competitiveness released by the World Economic Forum, Costa Rica placed 51 among the 144 economies of the world, moving up three positions from last year.
The president of the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones de la Empresa Privada (Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Enterprise), Ronald Jiménez, was positive and said he looks forward to work with the Council in a proactive manner with a long term vision towards achieving the proposals set out by the union recently.
The president of the Cámara Costarricense de la Industria Alimentaria (Food Industry Chamber), José Manuel Hernando, said that we cannot get excited about some of the improvements this year in terms of competitiveness, but to worry about what we are doing wrong, for example, the red tape that exists in infrastructure, governance and the need to tackle the fiscal deficit.