San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Edgar Ayales sworn in as finance minister

President Laura Chinchilla on Tuesday swore in Edgar Ayales as finance minister in a brief ceremony at Casa Presidencial, in the southeastern San José district of Zapote.

Ayales will focus on containing public spending, boosting foreign investment and improving tax collection, Chinchilla said. He will also push for new laws to reign in government spending and curb the country’s growing fiscal deficit, following a failed fiscal reform package promoted by the president.

“As finance minister, I want to build bridges and find solutions,” Ayales said. “Although it is now harder to reach consensus, I hope to reconcile combative positions, and with my contribution, to give the country a little bit back of what it has given to me and my family. The challenge is big, but I can contribute to achieving these objectives in the two remaining years of this administration,” he said.

Ayales’ experience includes designing macroeconomic programs for Central American countries, and participation on the boards of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. He also was deputy director of the IMF’s Statistics Department for more than a decade.

He replaces Fernando Herrero, who resigned April 2 amid a scandal over alleged tax evasion and insider deals with government institutions.

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