Saturday 28 January 2023

Unemployment and poverty: What do the presidential candidates offer as a solution to these issues?

The candidates agree that poverty will begin to decrease when unemployment decreases

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28 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica is experiencing high rates of unemployment and poverty, issues that become transcendental in the electoral campaign and the presidential candidates assume positions and proposals on these two issues.

Five of the candidates vying for the presidency in 2022

The unemployment rate registered 18.1% in the second quarter of the year according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) – National Institute of Statistics and Censuses. That represents 434,000 people without work.

Meanwhile, the poverty level is 23% according to the latest Encuesta Nacional de Hogares – National Household Survey, which is equivalent to 384,500 households. Extreme poverty reached 6.3%.

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What do the candidates for the presidency of the Republic propose?

Following is the position of five candidates on both issues: former president José María Figueres Olsen (PLN), Lineth Saborío (PUSC), Rolando Araya (Costa Rica Justa), Welmer Ramos (PAC) and Eli Feinzaig (Liberal Progresista Plus).

“My government program is designed to solve the unemployment problem by creating the conditions for inclusive economic growth to be generated, allowing companies to grow and create new ventures,” said Feinzaig.

“Activating the economy. There is no possibility of increasing employment without first activating the economy. Give it an environment with legal security, that people feel the tranquility of arriving and investing or maintaining the investment,” said Lineth Saborío.

The same is the case for Welmer Ramos.

“In the short term we have to reactivate the economy and to do so we have plenty of tools through government purchases from national companies,” said Ramos.

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Of all the candidates consulted, the only one who promises a job creation number is Figueres. The others prefer not to do so and some qualify it even as irresponsible.

The former president says that in his program called 9-1-1 there is a proposal to create 200,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs, in addition, to 40,000 jobs through the municipalities.

“This is done with an investment of about US$2 billion dollars that are quantified and that the country has. The idea is that this undeclared emergency be addressed in the first 24 months of government,” explained Figueres.

For Feinzaig, promising to create jobs is irresponsible for a presidential candidate.

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“The President does not create a single job, promising that is irresponsible. We are going to create the conditions so that the small, medium or large company can develop, be successful, grow and generate job opportunities,” he said.

Saborío considered that she is not fond of offering or promising figures on these issues because whoever does so takes the number according to the average unemployment rate that exists in the country.

Rolando Araya has reiterated his proposals to plant oilseeds (it is a type of oil), pejibaye to produce flour and hemp. He says that these three proposals would generate a lot of employment for the most affected sector.

“That depends on the circumstances and the sector and the most unemployed is the one who does not have the educational level to be employed where opportunities are opening up,” says the candidate about the situation.

“The sowing of oilseeds in Guanacaste, which is half a million hectares, and the pejibaye project to produce flour would employ people who will not find it in another area,” he said.

The candidates agree that poverty will begin to decrease when unemployment decreases and these are issues that will go hand in hand in their proposals.

“The best social policy is employment. We are going to merge the entities of the social sector to save, change the focus and abandon castrating assistance ”, said Feinzaig.

“One of the ways to fight poverty is job creation,” said Figueres.

The candidates have already fully entered the political campaign and little by little they will “drop” their proposals and make clear how they could fulfill them.

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