Friday 5 March 2021

Presidency and Legislative Assembly summon sectors to dialogue to seek solution to crisis

Meetings to seek solutions to the fiscal situation and economic crisis will begin next Saturday and will last for 4 weeks

QCOSTARICA – President Carlos Alvarado, and the President of the Legislative Assembly, Eduardo Cruickshank, convened Sunday night a multi-sectoral dialogue table in order to seek agreements to address the fiscal situation and the economic crisis facing the country.

Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado (left) and the President of the Legislative Assembly, Eduardo Cruickshank, together on national television Sunday night announcing the creation of a multi-sectoral dialogue table in order to seek agreements to address the fiscal situation and the economic crisis facing the country.

Through a national television network, the leaders announced that this four-week process will begin next Saturday with the participation of 25 representatives of civil society and under the moderation of the State of the Nation Program.

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“Our country faces the most important challenge in modern history. We need to take measures to generate employment and economic growth and immediately avoid an economic and fiscal crisis.

“Today, together with the president of the Legislative Power, we convened a multi-sector dialogue table to reach agreements as a country,” said the president.

“This space that today the presidents of the Executive and Legislative powers are convening will be the tool to agree on the great agreements that today the national reality demands in fiscal matters, economic growth, and consequently employment,” added Cruickshank,

In his message, the legislative leader called on the various sectors and legislative fractions to join in “and support this effort.”

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Meanwhile, Alvarado said that the agreements will aim to meet the needs of economic and fiscal stability as an “immediate priority.”

“We need to take care of the people of the country. We urgently need to recover the jobs we lost due to the pandemic, that people can face their needs and debts and that the interest rates they pay do not skyrocket.

“We need to keep the cost of living under control and inflation low so that people can buy what they need, as well as take care of the investment. We also require that the dollar exchange rate remain stable so as not to affect those who have credits in this currency. To maintain the stability of all of the above, we must take fiscal measures,” he said.

According to the details released by the Costa Rica President, after the agreements are reached, a second dialogue table would be convened to address the issues of employment, growth, and economic recovery.

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Likewise, Alvarado promised during the television broadcast that all the policy actions that the Government designs from now on, will take into account the agreements reached through this multisectoral dialogue.

“If I want to be clear on the following: in matters in which a recommendation from the majority of the members of the table has not been possible, the Executive Branch will have the freedom and the duty to proceed according to its criteria.

“The same will happen if the agreements fail to demonstrably achieve the policy objectives that both presidents of the Powers of the Republic have proposed for the dialogue to resolve. But I am convinced that we will achieve it,” he concluded.

Cruickshank, for his part, announced that the director of the State of the Nation Program, Jorge Vargas Cullel, will act as a facilitator of dialogue and construction of agreements.

Vargas, he said, was asked to design the rules of the process and that he be the only one in charge of ensuring methodological compliance by all actors.

What will the process be like?

According to Vargas, the dialogue convened must resolve a political and technical problem, which contains the dilemma of the fiscal emergency we are experiencing.

Said problem was posed as follows:

“How to achieve a permanent improvement of at least 2.5 percentage points of GDP in the primary deficit of the Central Government and a short-term decrease in the amount of public debt (of about 8 percentage points of GDP), through a mixture of actions of income, expenses and management of public indebtedness, to prevent the State from falling into default? ”

As detailed, the dialogue table has a bipartisan nature (Executive and civil society), with the accompaniment of the Legislative Power. It will consist of 29 members.

Four leaders of the Government’s social and economic team will participate in the Executive Power: The Ministers of Finance, Labor, Human Development and Planning and Economic Policy.

The representatives of the legislature will accompany as permanent observers.

On the part of civil society there will be 25 representatives. The groups mentioned are: businessmen, unions, cooperatives, solidarity associations, communal groups, agricultural producers, women, churches, university students, development agencies and municipalities.

The first three sectors will have four delegates each.

Each of the sectors will be responsible for appointing their representatives.

The inaugural installation session will be held next Saturday, October 17 at 10 am at the headquarters of the National Council of Rectors (Conare).

Call for peace

Alvarado ended the message by referring to the violent events and blockades that the country has faced in recent weeks.

“In recent days, the Government devoted enormous efforts to restoring peace in the country. Government representatives spoke with leaders in different areas, in order to find common points that would end the blockades and guarantee free movement. Also, the Fuerza Publica (National Police) intervened where required.

“I call for peace and for the interest of the country to come first. Costa Rica is a different country, of work and peace, let us honor our roots at this time. I appreciate the prayers you make for the authorities of the country, for Costa Rica, and now also for the success of this dialogue process,” he concluded.

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