Consumption by private companies and households went up by 4.6% in the first half of the year, exceeding the average growth rate of 2% of its main trading partners.
An example of the pace at which private consumption has been growing in the country is the relevance it has taken on in the bank's loan portfolios. Deputy general manager of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Bernardo Alfaro, explained that"... These kinds of operations rose from 28% of total credit seven years ago to 32% today."
The Costa Rican company increased its sales by 2% compared to 2014, thanks to the dynamism of flavored alcoholic beverages in the US, foods in Guatemala, and beers, wines and spirits in Costa Rica.
Flavored alcoholic beverages, especially in America, and increased profitability in beer, wine and distilled drinks in Costa Rica and food in Guatemala, boosted Costa Rica Florida Ice & Farm's operating income in 2015, reaching $179 million, 13% more than in the previous fiscal year.
In September the banking loan portfolio to the private sector recorded an increase of 17% compared to the same month last year.
Despite the political turmoil that the country has seen so far this year, bank credit portfolios have maintained positive figures and growth rates above 10%. The total loan portfolio in the banking system registered an annual increase of 13.9% in September this year, highlighting not only the growth of credit to businesses, but also for consumers, a category which grew by 15.7%.
With opposition from the business sector and partially vetoed by President Varela, the Assembly has approved the law granting the right to free parking in shopping centers.
Now it will be the Supreme Court which decides whether the controversial law adopted in January and subsequently vetoed in two articles by President Varela, is not unconstitutional. The law was passed now "... after insistence, on its third reading" by the National Assembly.
In the view of the private sector it does not make sense to pass a budget that contains vices of the past which encourage theft of public resources, nonexistent jobs, inefficient spending and corruption.
From a statement issued by the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF):
While the Investment and Employment Law Project is still waiting in congress, the new Minister of Economy announced that they are preparing a "plan B" to maintain incentives for the productive sector.
At least four months before the expiration of the Law on the Promotion and Development of Exports and Maquila Activities, it has been announced that the aim of the alternative plan is to maintain the tax benefits enjoyed up until now by exporting companies, mainly textiles and maquila.
The private sector has denounced that on top of the negative effect of the new tax of 1.5%, are delays in the payment of $19 million in tax refunds.
Added to this is the cost for companies of undergoing tax audits required by the Executive Directorate of Revenue (DEI) to justify their financial position and request an adjustment in the payment of 1.5% of income tax to be paid by those generating sales of over $456 thousand.
The latest cases of political corruption revealed, the fiscal crisis and the poor economic situation have plunged business confidence to its lowest level since 2009.
The business sector is not only concerned about what has happened, but what could happen in the coming months, as reflected in the results of the Central Bank index which measures perceptions of economic agents regarding the business and investment climate in the country.
The installation of a free trade zone in Guanacaste has been announced which will house high tech service companies who will be supported in their demand for human capital by the Invenio University with its dual model of education.
The ENADE 2015 survey reveals that 90% of Salvadoran entrepreneurs believe that the country has regressed in its competitiveness compared to other countries in the region.
In the view of the private sector, among the factors that have caused a loss of competitiveness for El Salvador are the high levels of crime, political and economic instability, constant changes to laws, lack of competitive infrastructure, and increased taxes.
The private sector proposes retaliatory measures now, as the imminence of large projects requiring investment from abroad, would make them more effective.
The private guild is opposed to the inclusion of Panama in the list of "tax havens" created by the European Commission. Businesspeople are calling on the authorities to defend national interests and apply the law of retaliation.
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