September 20, 2008

Paraguay Government Outlines Strategic Economic Plan

Text of report by prominent Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color website on 19 September

[Report: "The Executive Branch Proposes Greater Participation of Private Sector"]

During a meeting held last night at the Mburuvicha Roga Presidential Residence between President Fernando Lugo and Finance Minister Dionisio Borda, they revealed the administration's economic and social strategic plans for the 2008-2013 period to business, manufacturing, and union leaders.

On the occasion, representatives from the executive branch reported the fundamental axis of their economic policies and proposed to businessmen the need to seek adequate mechanisms to infuse greater participation of the private sector so as to achieve their objectives.

Finance Minister Borda explained, "The nation needs to invest more in social expenditures, education, and health. The idea is to have the state facilitate greater private participation. We are trying to develop a joint goal between the state and the private sector to achieve sustainable growth."

Borda explained that the basic seven points of this administration's project are focused on: Macroeconomic balance, streamlining the state apparatus, streamlining of state-owned companies, dynamic development and ability to compete, institution of public financial sectors, agrarian reform and rural economy, and lastly, addressing poverty and unemployment.

Borda maintained, "We are aware of the private sector's will to cooperate with the government. There is a will to generate employment and to combat poverty. This can be achieved by attaining a more efficient and formal state."

Borda added that besides social forces from Asuncion, the government will summon representatives from different areas and social organizations.

Hector Cristaldo, leader of the Producers' Union Association (UGP), stated that there are coincidences with the executive branch in major objectives, but it is necessary to discuss the details.

Cristaldo said, "There are coincidences in major objectives, but we must discuss among all parties the enhancement of projects and make them more efficient so that the results may reach everyone."

Cristaldo announced that they agreed to establish negotiating tables for each sector and to start working in a couple of weeks. Cristaldo added, "The country cannot wait, we must establish the scenario. This type of meeting was needed for a long time and [we think] that we can manage with the criterion that was agreed upon. This is the first proposal; we will see how to proceed with the details."

Cristaldo pointed out that they did not discuss specific topics like soybean tax, because those issues must be analysed at negotiating tables.

Originally published by ABC Color website, Asuncion, in Spanish 19 Sep 08.

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