Sunday 29 May 2022

What Goes up Might Keep Going up

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28 May 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Costa Rica, might well challenge Isaac Newton’s theory that what goes up must come down. The cost of living keeps going up and does not seem to come down. “Greed” is just another way of saying “Pura Vida.”

Right now in November, we have a reprieve from on the cost of gasoline. A drop of 28 colones per liter for extra and 23 colones for regular. With the recent price rise in crude, we expect can expect increase around December. Back to the normal.

On the other side of the coin, everything from Tropical Storm Nate to President Solís’ prostrate surgery has been used as an excuse to raise prices across the board on foodstuffs and anything imported.

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While both ICE (Electricity) and AyA (Water) are two of the largest and most influential solicitors of rate increases, smaller ones still eat away at the consumer’s monthly income. The electricity request for a 19+% increase in rates is devastating to a business, to investors and tourism including retirees.

The reason given for the increase?

A lower demand for electricity and, oops, pay off debt. Instead of lowering the consumer cost to attract more usage, this monopoly would rather increase prices to cover up mismanagement. A trend that gone on for decades.

The proliferation of iPhones seems to be the culprit here and landline usage decline the cause. This makes no sense. ICE is in the cell phone business and unless I am mistaken ICE owners of Kolbi, the competition Claro and Movistar need to charge their phones and ICE collects a small but important tower fee. The value or use of landlines has decreased and will continue do so as a result of the infamous “cellular”.

But what about tuna fish, chicken, bread, etc.? Nate has been credited with the price rise of almost every food product in Costa Rica. Be it national or imported. Even Globalvia, Route 27 to the beach from San Jose has incremented its tolls, every 90 days: The costs of travel for cars and important trucks loaded with consumer goods is always [assed along to consumers
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At what point will more companies leave Costa Rica and more tourist realize there are many other options to enjoy the good life than Pura Vida?

Blurbs such as International Living still promote Costa Rica as “laid back and low cost”, living. I can list only a few products or services with lower cost than many countries of Europe and the U.S. And now we are faced with 15% VAT tax to bail us out of bankruptcy. A word we do not use!

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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