National Assembly Deputies Bet on Mining, Tourism and Support for Food Producers to Counter Unemployment

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    The results of the Continuous Employment Survey (ECE) of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) revealed in July, the highest reported unemployment figure in the country’s history: 20.1%.

    This number is 8.8% higher than the one registered by the country during the same period of 2019, that is, during March, April and May. On this occasion, women are the most affected, as they have an unemployment rate of 26%, while that of men is 16.3%.

    According to the INEC, 468,000 people are unemployed, 237,204 women and 230,796 men; 190,000 more people in this condition, compared to the same quarter of 2019.

     What can be done about this problem?

    Three National Assembly deputies from different political factions: Harllan Hoepelman from the New Republic bloc, María José Corrales from National Liberation and Rodolfo Peña from the Christian Social Unity, suggested different projects that could counteract the problem.

    Rodolfo Peña, Christian Social Unity

    According to Peña, labor market regulations must be made more flexible, including working hours and compliance with social charges, in order to help companies hire more workers, and at the same time, entrepreneurs can survive and carry out their Projects.

    “It is necessary to have actions with a regional focus, to close those gaps of opportunities that exist between remote areas and the center of the country. I have projects to promote tourism, marinas and coastal development that would encourage investment in this sector,” said Peña.

    The Social Christian added: “This is the line of projects that we need to reactivate employment in our country, we must provide facilities to those who produce so that they can continue generating work and income for public finances.”

    Promote tourist marinas and reactivate financing for the productive sector

    The head of fraction of the Christian Social Unity, stressed that during this juncture he presented bill project 21,990 that proposes to promote tourist marinas as centers of development of the country and the coasts.

    “It would have the capacity to attract foreign direct investment, tourism and promote new commercial activities, directly benefiting all the coastal communities of Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limón,” argued Peña.

    He is also promoting bill project 22,046, which refers to the reactivation of financing to the productive sector for all sectors and regions of the country. “As a fraction, we have presented projects to encourage entrepreneurship and employment in the regions through initiatives that provide incentives for the formalization and creation of jobs,” said the Social Christian.

    María José Corrales, National Liberation

    For her part, Corrales, indicated that all the projects that generate greater capital investment, that promote the productive chain and the addition of value where all sectors of the economy can benefit, as well as that promote support for small and medium-sized companies, can solve unemployment.

    “Unfortunately, on this issue, the Government has been ignorant in terms of presenting a strategic roadmap for economic recovery that addresses these issues, and that has been even more evident in these months of national emergency due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, where the demand from the productive and job-generating sectors is more than unsatisfied,” said the Liberationist.

    Corrales also mentioned that projects such as bill project 21,671 that authorizes the National Insurance Institute (INS) to donate ¢ 1,400 million to the National Production Council (CNP), for the development of an agricultural value-added plant in the North Zone, is an example the kind of initiatives that are needed.

    According to Corrales, one of the most important projects she has presented is bill project 21,584 for Social Development Through the Regulation of Metallic Mining Activity, “which would allow the regulation and stricter control of mining activity that is currently being developed illegally with the clear passivity of the Government and would allow the development of small and medium-scale artisanal mining, under strict environmental controls ”.

    The Liberationist defends that this activity would generate work and develop the communities where it operates and, in addition, the possibility that the State can recover part of what it currently loses due to the exploitation fee, which in 2019 meant US $ 4 million.

    Corrales also said that she has presented bill project 21,524 Law for the Promotion and Incentives of Entrepreneurship and Micro-enterprises, which establishes conditions so that companies do not face obstacles when being established or reactivated. Likewise, with bill project 21.553 for the Intervention of Cantonal Routes by the National Highway Council, it seeks that the commercial, tourist and people exchange is not interrupted due to accidents on cantonal roads.

    “Now that we have known the most recent INEC statistics on female unemployment, I proposed bill project 21,957 for the Reactivation and Strengthening of the National Network for Child Care and Development, which expands coverage in the care networks of our country, which would allow a lot of women to have the option of looking for a job,” Corrales said.

    Harllan Hoepelman, The New Republic

    For Hoepelman, it is necessary to create an attractive economic environment for investors to visit Costa Rica and remain managing their businesses here. “It is not possible for the country to be so expensive for production of goods, this is a basic principle of macroeconomics, it is necessary to produce efficiently both with the technology we have and with human resources; here we have these two elements”, said the deputy.

    He also pointed out that better public policies are required to regain confidence in investors, “let us remember that the Government must guarantee these things,” he said.

    Encourage employment

    In the case of Hoepelman, he has presented three bills in order to generate a better outlook on employment. One of them is bill project 21,540, whose basic objective is for the State to promote sources of employment in both the public and private sectors.

    “What is sought is that people with food debts, especially those who are under bodily constraint in jail, have the necessary economic income for their families to face such an important responsibility as alimony,” explained the New Republic deputy.

    Likewise, he promotes bill project 21.324 that seeks to guarantee employment for people who are responsible for paying alimony, and also for workers of multinational companies.

    “The purpose is to provide legal tools that allow them to protect their employment if they need to leave the country to receive international training. Currently, due to economic constraints, many times, these workers have lost their jobs for not being able to deposit the entire guarantee of 12 months of pension, plus Christmas bonus and school salary, just for going one or two weeks out of the country”, Hoepelman pointed out.

    The deputy also created bill project 20.444 to put a moratorium, “with an economic reactivation purpose, by encouraging businesses not to close their doors in the face of very high payments for rents and public services supporting the progress of SMEs and social development,” he concluded.

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