The Finance Ministry finished 2008 with a ¢36 million (more than $66,000) budget surplus for a second year in a row. It’s money the government says will be used to create jobs and lessen the effects of the current financial crisis.
“The surplus will allow us this year to make investments that would create jobs,” Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga said. “We are committed to the policies that we have drawn in the past thanks to the surplus.” Zúñiga said the surplus is a reflection of hard work.
According to the report released by the ministry last Friday, its 2008 expenses were 21.2 percent higher than in 2007, mostly due to salary raises granted to professionals.
Tax revenues increased by 17.8 percent in 2008, with income taxes going up 26.3 percent, while customs fees went up 14.6 percent, and national sales taxes 13.9 percent.
Zúñiga said the financial crisis is currently affecting the export, tourism and economic return sectors, but added that the employment sector as well as family incomes might take a hit later this year.
“It is clear that the government needs to invest more at this time,” said Zúñiga, who added the Finance Ministry specifically wants to increase its liquidity holdings in the coming year.