Luis Membreño, an economist, said the government had lost its way after a "sound approach" in its early years that led to the recovery of economic growth and a much-needed tax reform.
Salvador Sánchez Cerén, vice-presidential candidate of the leftist FMLN party, said some of Saca's social programs were "interesting but insufficient".
This year the government is investing US$700 million of public money, much of it in programs to help the poor. Last October, Saca announced subsidies on services such as potable water, electricity and propane gas.
The union of industrialists states that the government's five-year plan lacks any definition of concrete actions which would allow it to bring about anticipated results.
From a statement issued by the Salvadoran Association of Industrialists (ASI):
In the view of industrialists it is a document which contains some important evaluations and defines priorities for government issues, but it lacks a concrete action plan to provide solutions to the serious problems we Salvadorans are facing, especially with regard to violence, stagnation of the economy and lack of jobs.
The difficult job of overcoming the economic crisis will have a very eclectic guide who will combine big state projects with the drive of private enterprises.
The economic maneuvering announced in new Ricardo Martinelli’s inaugural address, will have four main axes: The construction of the Metro and the completion of big public works projects that are already underway, along with the maintenance of the momentum of the construction industry after completing the expansion of the Canal. A social policy that includes the use of subsidies for the construction of housing projects. A Ministry has been created for the promotion of small and medium sized businesses. Finally, opening the Panamanian economy to more international trade through more free trade agreements.
The State will invest $12 billion during the five years of the Martinelli administration, 7% of the expected GDP.
In US Dollars, the projected public investment will triple the amount of the previous government, which invested 4.5% of the gross domestic product.
Martinelli aims for the state to replace the private sector as the economic engine of the country through investment in infrastructure, at times when the crisis has lowered employment and foreign direct investment.
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