From March to July, 141 municipalities in the country invested 185,806,041 bolivianos ($26.5 mn) in emergency care for Covid-19 through 1,357 awards. On June 29, the Government enacted Law 1307, which instructs the return to sub-national governments and universities of up to $200 million of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH), taken from them since 2015. Municipalities' budget execution complied by 60%, they want to make purchases, but cannot do so because of the scarcity of inputs, especially in medicines, reagents and tests.
Confronting the pandemic by the new coronavirus and the imposed health measures and the crisis had a fiscal, monetary and financial cost until July of some six trillion dollars, equivalent to 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With the latest measures, such as the Employment Plan, this effort will increase further. This cost includes social bonds, subsidization of essential services, deferment of credits, tax relief, injection of resources from the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) and others.
In the country there are around 872,000 Agricultural Production Units (Upas), of which 92% (725,000 UPAs) correspond to family agriculture producers, involving more than 3 million people, in the entire production chain; 7% are medium-sized producers; and 1% are large producers, with 25,000 families that are mostly soy producers.
Between January and July, Bolivia's foreign sales totalled $3.713 billion, 26% less than the same period in 2019. In terms of volume, exports fell by 6%. The textile apparel sector was the most affected, with a 71% drop in value and 70% in volume. Other affected items were minerals with a decline in sales of 38%, leather in 36%, jewellery in 27%, and chestnuts in 25%.
The government relaunched the 'green fuels' program to reactivate the sugar sector and generate 10,000 jobs. It foresees the purchase of 200 million litres of ethanol. Industrialists are betting on new investments, the Plan for the Economic Reactivation of the Agro-Industrial Sector, vindicated the investment commitment of at least $150 million and the aspiration, both of sugarcane growers and industrialists, to recover the capital injected in the framework of Bolivia's incursion into the era and production of green fuels.
Between January and July, Bolivia's imports fell by 34% compared to the same period in 2019, due to the impact of Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed by all the countries in the world. Purchases from China, the country that supplies most to Bolivia, fell by 31 percent. IBCE's technical manager, María Esther Peña, explained that the country's imports fell due to the restrictions and closing of the borders that the countries applied to stop the pandemic.
A cereal 100% natural and nutritious is the contribution of Cerveceria Boliviana Nacional (CBN) in alliance with the company Irupana, that united their raw material to elaborate 250,000 rations for personnel who fight in first line against the pandemic and affected communities. The first donation is of 10,000 rations of cereals, of a total of 250,000 for the personnel who fight in the first line against the pandemic. In the second phase, food will be delivered to communities affected by the health crisis.
As of July of this year, the unemployment rate in the country registered 11.8%, one of the highest in the last 30 years. The National Institute of Statistics (INE) states that 7.9% is an effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Among the most affected sectors are construction, fast food service and commerce.
ACI Worldwide, a leading global provider of real-time digital payment software and solutions, announced a partnership with EBANX, a provider of payment and financial solutions for global organisations expanding in Latin America. With the ACI Secure eCommerce solution, EBANX will initially offer local credit card payments, instalments and alternative payment methods for the Latin American market. This collaboration will enable the acceptance of the most relevant payment methods across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
Bolivia's government has awarded new contracts to workshops for the conversion of vehicles to CNG, maintenance of equipment, requalification and replacement of CNG cylinders in the department of Tarija. The contracts will support the sustainability of the policy of changing the energy matrix to natural gas. The Government hopes that the initiative will contribute to the generation of more than 120 new jobs.