The industrial sector aims to increase its share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 16% to 20%. The president of the Industries National Chamber (CNI), Ibo Blazicevic presented to the government a 10-year plan to achieve the objective. The Planning Minister, Mariana Prado, welcomed the proposal and said that this means that the government will withdraw from some sectors such as hydrocarbons and mining to boost the private industrial sector.
YPFB, the State oil company, announced that it concluded the works to modify its storage capacity to expand its ethanol plants and enhance their transportation system. YPFB’s president Oscar Barriga, said that the job demanded an investment of over $41 million and will allow the company to receive 150 million litres of anhydrous alcohol from sugar producers and convert them in super ethanol 92 combustible.
Bolivia and Argentina will discuss the lithium prices to be exploited in both countries. President Evo Morales and his Argentinian counterpart, Mauricio Macri, will meet to discuss this topic and signed other bilateral projects. Bolivia, Argentina and Chile posses around 80% of the global lithium reserves. Bolivia plans to invest more than $900 million in the exploitation and industrialisation of the mineral.
The 8th Andean Business Meeting will be held in La Paz between 8 and 9 May. The Foreign Trade Vice-Minister, Benjamin Blanco, said that during the meeting the delegates will discuss ways to promote production and employment as well as the strengthening of trade among the countries of the Andean Community. Businessmen from the European Union will also attend the meeting.
Gold exports increased by 9.5% in the period 2017-2018 thanks to the recovery of international prices. In 2018 gold exportations reached 40,690 kilos while in 2017 they reached 37,162 kilos. The Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE) noted that the upward trend continued during the first two months of this year.
Ivo Blazicevic, president of the Industrial National Chamber (CNI), asserted that the primary export model of gold -based on cooperative activities- is not sustainable. He added that the current model conceals informality with a high environmental cost and scarce revenue for the State. In the medium and long term, it is not suitable for Bolivia. More than 99% of the gold exploitation is in the hands of the cooperative members who leave 2.5% of royalties to the regions.
Between December 2018 and April 2019, Bolivia’s net international reserves (NIR) had a reduction of SU$1.02 billion, according to data from the BCB. If the trend continues without changes the NIR will fall to SU$5 billion.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the first nine months of 2018 reached $US515 million, according to data from the Bolivian Central Bank (BCB). The rhythm of FDI has been the same since 2015 when it reached SU$1.06 billion. The president of the entrepreneurs federation of Cochabamba, Javier Bellot, noted that to generate more investment there have to be some reforms. He added that, in the case of Cochabamba, there are connectivity problems both, by air and land. Another obstacle is the process to open companies in Bolivia, which has to be simplified. “There is also labour policy and taxes pressure. If we want to attract investment, we must analyze the tax issue because at this moment there are countries that are more attractive than Bolivia.”
Bolivia’s General Treasure will transfer SU$26.4 million to execute the Coffee Investment Program, said the agronomist and coffee grower José Luis Escobar. The attributes of Bolivian coffee, according to the opinion of tasters, “are citrus chocolate flavours, red fruits”. The green coffee belt, located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, with regions that have favorable conditions for coffee production, includes Bolivia whose altitude is a plus point. Escobar said that the investment program has “an implementation time of 5 years and began in 2018. The project finances 70% of new seedlings and the remaining 30% will be financed by the producer.”
The Bolivian government launched the internet portal http://www.investbolivia.gob.bo to attract foreign investors interested in Bolivian strategic projects. The portal shows the five major investment sectors: Hydrocarbons, mining, energy, tourism, industry, technology and infrastructure.