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Cumbersome Licensing Process Causes Corruption

July 23, 2004

THE slow and obstacle-lined processnecessary to obtain construction permitsand commercial licenses causes corruptionwithin municipal governments ofCosta Rica, according to the Foundationfor Sustainable Development (Fundes).Parties needing permits and licensesoften speed up the process by bribingauthorities or constructing without permission,the daily La Nación reported.As it stands, somebody who wants toopen a business needs on average 77 daysand five to seven visits to the appropriatemunicipality to receive a license. In comparison,in the United States or Canadathis process takes around four days,according to Fundes, which is helping 16municipalities in Costa Rica simply thisprocess.Much of the problem lies in the factthat people often have to perform thesame actions repeatedly, such as give fivedifferent departments same the documents,Fundes regional director GeovannyCastillo told La Nación.The process is further burdened by alack of documents or manuals explainingthe process, Castillo said. Of every 10people in a line at a municipality, onlythree have all the documents they need inhand.Ombudsman José Manuel Echandisaid his office receives many complaintsabout the arduous process of obtainingmunicipal permits.

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