The President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, made his first international trip, as he was invited to participate in the World Economic Forum event in Switzerland. This Tuesday, he made his first intervention, in which he exposed the current situation the country is facing. The President strongly criticized how previous governments managed public finances.
Chaves stated Costa Rica has had a “significant deterioration”, there is too much pollution in the rivers and the country invested excessively in electricity generation, especially from fossil fuels. He also expressed the country faces fiscal problems and the tax system, instead of improving the distribution of wealth, worsens it.
“One can debate whether tax distribution is good or bad; what we Costa Ricans agree upon 100% is that equal opportunities are not debatable and the State must provide them, by building human capital, education, health and public safety,” the President mentioned.
He also explained he current administration has been 15 days in office, which is why there are no major achievements to be reported. Nonetheless, he stressed he could report the challenges that occupy him.
“We have to generate more and better jobs, and that means giving the private sector a boost of confidence. In Costa Rica, the false dichotomy that we have been hearing for years was the private sector or the public sector. No, there has not been a country in the history of the world that has achieved prosperity only with the private sector or only with the State,” he pointed out.
The moderator of the forum told the President: “you have escaped this very serious crisis the pandemic has produced, but there are also some emerging risks and it is going to be a complex period in your presidency.”
To these comments Chaves responded: “I did not avoid anything, on the contrary, I am inheriting what needs to be corrected because, unfortunately, contrary to the experiences my colleagues (the other presidents) have commented, Costa Rica did not do so well and, rather, we have had a significant deterioration.”
In addition, he has spoken with investors and has assured them “Costa Rica is open for business.” Chaves explained he is determined to remove all the “bottlenecks” existing in the country, so there will be a better business environment.
“The government’s challenge is to ensure its winners are the vast majority of the Costa Rican people, and who are going to be the losers? Those who have benefited from public policies for years, from private monopolies -in Costa Rica there are private monopolies, the State has given monopolies of agrochemicals, medicines to businessmen, that is coming to an end,” the President remarked.
Rodrigo Chaves is also hoping to “generate changes that create many winners” and he expects losers will “have to recognize that they had illegitimate benefits and that they are going to have to give them up.”
Additionally, when asked about his environmental agenda he firmly stated “Costa Rica is a country that will not back down on its commitments and its desire to achieve carbon neutrality.”
“We have invested very little in sewage systems and we have too much river pollution; we are going to work on that. Also, dealing with waste management, we are not recycling, we are not doing enough circular economy,” President Chaves noted.
The president will be at the event until May 27, where he expects to attract foreign investments to the country and create more jobs.