Businessmen in El Salvador are increasingly unhappy about the absence of policies to attract foreign investment. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has declined in recent years, making the country the lowest recipient of FDI in Central America, according to their perception.
Entrepreneurship refers to FDI figures for 2011 and the aggressive plans that all the other Central American countries are carrying out in order to attract investment, or to the large infrastructure investments in Costa Rica and Panama, reports Laprensagrafica.com.
Arnoldo Jimenez, executive director of the National Association of Private Enterprise (ANEP), considers that the country has no real desire to develop, for example, public-private partnerships which create jobs and revitalize the economy. He notes that the State, motivated by political interests, allocates large sums to massive subsidies instead of using these sums to modernize public service systems, in particular, Jimenez mentions the $56 million in grants for public transportation, which could be used to install articulated buses.
Ismael Nolasco, executive director of the Salvadoran Chamber of Construction (CASALCO), meanwhile, also believes that the government spends too much on subsidies ($340 million annually according to La Prensa Grafica) and avoids investing. "When investing in ports, remodeling, this does work in favor of the economy because it generates, taxes and greater availability for government to do social programs,", said the businessman.
Added to these complaints are inefficiencies with the budget. Last year, the Government announced a public investment of $1.2 billion, but only managed to implement between 60% -65% of that amount. This year, the goal is $900 million.
A new wind farm and the expansion of the International Airport of El Salvador, are the first two projects to be conducted under this system.
"Today (yesterday) I called a meeting with the president of CEPA (Autonomous Executive Port Commission) and CEL (Executive Hydroelectric Commission of the Lempa River) to immediately structure the first two projects: the expansion of the international airport and the wind project which the CEL is working with," said Alexander Segovia, Technical Secretary of the Presidency.
In Honduras there are plans to develop free zones to attract companies from El Salvador who have shown their fears about the business climate in the country.
Several Salvadoran companies have shown fear over the FMLN party winning the presidential election for the second time. Aware of the concerns of Salvadorans regarding the business climate in the Central American nation, Hondurans are working on attracting those companies.
A draft bill submitted for consultation to employers by the government of El Salvador, proposes a charge of 0.5% on the assets of foreign investors.
An article in Elsalvador.com reports that "The Government plans to charge a "premium" of 0.5% on total investment assets to entrepreneurs who arrive in the country attracted by the newly proposed law on legal stability, according to a draft by the Secretariat sent to the Chairman of the National Association of Private Enterprise (ANEP) a few months ago.
The National Association of Private Enterprise in El Salvador has declared that "money laundering is enabling Alba Petróleos to dabble in various production and commercial activities in the country."
According to an article in Elsalvador.com "The Executive Director of the ANEP, Arnoldo Jimenez said that this development ‘is part of a whole scheme of money laundering, diversion of funds and corruption that exists behind Alba ', referring to 'how Alba and el Frente (FMLN) are gaining economic control through political power'. "
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