(QCOSTARICA) The inability of the Carlos Alvarado government to boost the economy is the reason why unemployment shot up to 15.7% and not the coronavirus pandemic, according to opposition legislators.
To blame the pandemic’s health emergency is to want to hide the truth since before the Coronavirus, the country was fighting against historical unemployment rates, according to a bloc of legislators, of the latest report that indicates more than 379.000 people with jobs in Costa Rica, which represents an increase of more than 3 percentage points in relation to the last measurement released by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).
“We knew that unemployment was going to increase, but this is not a matter of the pandemic, in recent years there is an outstanding debt in terms of employment with Costa Ricans,” said legislators Karine Niño, head of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN).
In this sense, legislators demand a work agenda or an action plan, which, until now, is non-existent.
“From the (Legislative) Assembly we have raised various initiatives to a deaf government. How many more people crying out for help do you need for Don Carlos to listen?” Said Pedro Muñoz, legislator for the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC).
For decades the PLN and PUSC alternated governing Costa Rica.
Cutting public spending, giving extensions tax payments, investing in infrastructure and simplifying procedures are some of the constant demands of the productive sector and of legislators.
Meanwhile, the government was pleased last week that COVID-19 did not generate a further increase in unemployment.
There would be many more people who would be out of work, instead of the 379,000 if the employment protection law had not been approved, is the assurance from the government.
15.7% is considered as high, but more than 200,000 people keep their jobs thanks to measures to reduce the workday and temporarily suspend the contract, the government counters the arguments of opposition legislators.
“Although their income has been affected, their jobs have not disappeared,” said Geannina Dinarte, Minister of Labor.
Opposition lawmakers questioned the government’s alleged mismanagement and its inaction to create jobs.
Ivonne Acuña, an independent legislator, said “I feel very indignant at the declarations of a President of the Republic who once again shows his pride, making invisble more than 350,000 families with unemployment and turning a deaf ear to the clamor of the productive sectors.”
Karine Niño, said “We knew that unemployment was going to increase, but this is not a matter of the pandemic, in recent years there is an outstanding debt in terms of employment with Costa Ricans. However, we still do not have a clear economic path. And meanwhile, they just tell us “I can’t be done.”
Pedro Muñoz, PUSC legislator, Deputy “Finding a balance between health and economy is no longer a matter of “reactivation” but of survival.”
Jonathan Garments, legislator for the Neuva Republica, said “In Nueva Republica we estimate that unemployment exceeds 20% and affected are more than 500,000 people; The INEC survey was carried out when the impact of the COVID-19 was just beginning. This is not just the result of the pandemic, but of the lousy administration of the current government.”