Bolivia will hold a new presidential election on May 3 and political parties have until February 3 to present their candidates. The current elections will replace the one annulled last year amid allegations of fraud and forced the resignation of Evo Morales to the presidency.
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Bolivia’s bank deposits dropped from 65% of the GDP in 2018 to 61% in 2019, while loans grew from 62% to 64% of the GDP, according to the Industry and Commerce Chamber of Santa Cruz (CAINCO). According to the government, bank deposits reached up to November 2019 $25.4 billion while loans were $26.5 billion.
Rice prices fell 20% in 2019, impacting farmers capability to increase their productivity. At the same time, maize production dropped approximately 20% due to low land productivity, causing concern in the agricultural sector that fears now an increase of basic food imports in 2020.
At least 75% of some 27,000 registered companies in Bolivia certified the payment of the Christmas Bond, said the Labour Minister, Oscar Mercado.
Deputy Minister of Pensions and Financial Services Osvaldo Jáuregui reported that the pension system funds administered by the AFPs reached $19 billion. The Government also announced that will end permanently the $10.9 million contract with Colombia’s Heinsohn Business Technology, which was hired to design software for the state-owned Long Term Social Security management company.
Bolivia will end 2019 with the highest fiscal deficit in 17 years, at 9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Santa Cruz (CAINCO). A fall on tax collection and state incomes are the main reasons for the deficit. According to the Jubilee Foundation, hydrocarbon revenues fell by 18% while tax collections reduced by 3.5%.
Bolivia has the highest mobile internet rate in South America, with an average of $8.41 per gigabyte (GB), Chile has the lowest cost at $1.87 per GB, according to the global ranking prepared by the international portal cable.co.uk, based on collection and analysis of 6,313 mobile data plans in 230 countries.
Despite the political situation, Telecommunications companies maintain their dynamism, due to the high consumption in data, according to different rating agencies. State-owned Entel has a 45.4% market share, Tigo by 37.6% and Viva Nuevatel 16.9%.
The livestock sector expects to increase its growth from 6 to 10 per cent in 2020, due to the progress in opening up new beef export markets. The producers expect to make sales to Russia and Chile and continue shipments to China and Peru.
The president of the National Chamber of Industries (CNI), Ibo Blazicevic, called for freezing the national minimum wage in 2020 and only negotiating the increase in the basic level, based on inflation recorded in the current period. He added that Bolivia has the fifth-highest salary in the region; it is a high cost for labour with very little productivity.