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President Says 2005 Crucial For Overcoming Poverty

January 7, 2005

THIS will be a crucial year for reachinggoals in the fight against poverty,which affects 20.7% of the country’s populationof approximately 4 million, andattaining greater development and a higherquality of life for people, PresidentAbel Pacheco said Sunday.In his traditional Sunday radio andtelevision address, Pacheco said he willcontinue efforts to build schools with betterscience laboratories and language andinformation programs in the poorestregions of the country.The President, who has 16 months leftin his term, explained, “We want educationto be the axis of our development.”He insisted on the urgent need toapprove the tax-reform bill in theLegislative Assembly, which he haspushed for months.“Our capacity to finance programs ofsocial aid for the most needy in 2005and our power to decelerate the speed ofindebtedness of public finances dependon the approval of the fiscal plan,” hesaid.He also promised that programs ofhousing construction will intensify, publicmedical coverage will improve and newjobs will become available.“We will continue our efforts to attractinvestment, to support small, medium andmicro businesses, and to open internationalmarkets to offer, at the best prices possible,goods and services,” he said.He called for legislative approval ofthe free-trade agreement with theCaribbean Community (CARICOM).“We hope to achieve the consensusnecessary for the approval of a similaragreement with the United States,” negotiatedin tandem with the rest of CentralAmerica.In his message, full of good predictionsand promises, Pacheco indicated that effortsto open broader paths into the Japanesemarket would intensify “and advance at aprudent pace with a patriotic attitude intonegotiations of a trade agreement with the25 nations of the European Union.“That will mean more jobs, bettersalaries, more investment, more production,more well-being for Costa Ricans,”Pacheco said.

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