LatinNews Daily - 19 August 2022

In brief: Leading union in Costa Rica rejects debt reduction proposal

* Costa Rica’s umbrella trade union Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados (Anep) has rejected plans proposed by President Rodrigo Chaves to present a bill to sell two state-owned banks, Banco Internacional de Costa Rica (Bicsa) and Banco de Costa Rica (BCR), as well as 49% of state-owned insurance company Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), to cut public debt. Chaves made his comments in a speech delivered on 16 August to mark his first 100 days in office, claiming that if approved, the sale of the banks would raise ¢1.2trn (US$1.8bn), around 2.8% of Costa Rica’s GDP, while the stake in the insurance company should bring in ¢595bn. Anep’s secretary general Albino Vargas was cited by the media as saying that the serious problem of debt should never be addressed with the sale of assets. Costa Rica’s central government debt was 68.5% of GDP in 2021; in a March 2022 report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast it will come in at 68.6% of GDP in 2022.

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