The National Chamber of Commerce (CNC) warned that some 100,000 jobs in Bolivia are at risk and that 20% of companies could close operations due to the illiquidity generated by the Covid-19 quarantine. The quarantine left at least $300 million of losses in the sector.
Due to the quarantine, the implementation of teleworking and tele-education, internet consumption in Bolivia rose by 40%. In the country, the telephone companies currently have more than 10 million users, of which between 80% and 85% are postpaid customers and the rest are prepaid customers (mainly cell phones). These users have increased internet consumption by 40%, reported the president of the Bolivian Telecommunications Chamber (Catelbo), Eduardo Trigo.
Those who owe less than Bs.1 million ($144,882) to the banks will be able to defer their June, July and August quotas, Development Minister Oscar Ortiz said. People who owe less than one million Bolivians represent the vast majority of people who owe to banks. This is the second time that bank loans are deferred, as payments from March, April and May were previously deferred.
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean have plunged as a result of the Covid-19 health crisis and global economic recession. The region will receive a projected $77.5 billion in remittances this year, 19.3% less than the $96 billion it received in 2019, according to provisional forecasts by the World Bank.
The Bolivian government has delayed the deadline for filing corporate income taxes by two months for all but the largest businesses. The tax had previously been delayed for all companies from March 30 to May 29. The new deadline is July 31. The extensions applies to 80% of companies.
Brazil’s requirements rose to 14 million cubic metres of gas, a situation which, from the perspective of the hydrocarbons minister, augurs well for Bolivia’s revenue recovery. The arrival of winter would also determine an increase in gas demand from Argentina. According to reports from the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), in the first quarter, natural gas exports represented 33% of total exports, for an amount of $664 million.
Due to the quarantine, the implementation of teleworking and Tele-education, internet consumption in Bolivia increased by 40%, but new users do not even reach 10%. The telephone companies have more than 10 million users, between 80% and 85% are post-paid customers, and the rest opt for prepaid, especially in consumption by cell phone. Because of the quarantine, several post-paid users have been owing bills since January, so the companies are suffering from severe illiquidity, which forced the operators to suspend their investments to improve the service.
The Government has made more than 7,105,921 million bond payments, reaching a large part of the 8.3 million beneficiaries. The breakdown of disbursements is as follows: 1,744,763 from the Renta Dignidad bond; 931,525 from the Bono Canasta Familiar; 2,433,489 from the Bono Familia and 1,906,891 from the Bono Universal.
Two months after the quarantine, 40% of the 115 formal farms operating in Santa Cruz decided to close due to the sharp drop in demand for pork, which also caused the price of the live kilo to fall to Bs 10.5. Forty-five thousand pigs remained in the production centres of Santa Cruz, a region that supplies 80% of the animal protein in the whole country.
The Center of Studies for Labor and Agricultural Development (CEDLA) anticipates that this year industry and manufacturing, construction, tourism, hotels, mining and hydrocarbons and public administration, will be the economic activities that will generate more unemployment due to the sharp contraction they will experience during 2020. The informal sector will continue to be the cushion of the employment crisis. The National Chamber of Commerce estimates an increase of 200,000 unemployed.