San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Executive branch orders public offices to lower spending

President Laura Chinchilla on Tuesday signed an executive order for all public offices providing public services to reduce their operating costs within 30 days.

The order applies to institutions such as the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the National Power and Light Company, the National Oil Refinery, “and any other office whose rates are regulated by the Public Services Regulatory Authority [ARESEP], Vice President Luis Liberman said.

The measure aims to provide ARESEP “with valid arguments for telling these institutions that they cannot spend indiscriminately and then charge those costs to consumers in the form of higher rates,” Liberman said.

Chinchilla added that “the main objective is to curb the excessive abuse of some public institutions when they file a request for higher rates. This measure will be under strict supervision by the Finance Ministry.”

She also suggested these public offices exercise strong control over operating costs – primarily salaries – and implement financing plans to take advantage of low rates being offered by the international market.

In the last year of her administration, the president expects that these measures can help reduce growth in public spending, currently at 16 percent.

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