The Government announced the temporary cancellation of tariffs on imports of newsprint in response to efforts by the National Press Association (ANP) to address the plight of the print media throughout the country.
The Government estimates that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will contract by 5.9% by the end of the year, the lowest level in the country’s history, due to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) indicated that cumulative inflation to May was 1.2% and expected to remain below the expected margin of 3.4% until year-end.
The National Program for Reactivation of Employment, which was presented this Wednesday by the Government, will have additional financing of Bs 13,880 million destined to the construction of the Propylene and Polypropylene Plant in Tarija. The Government said a bill was sent to the Parliament and demanded its approval to access the resources.
Bolivia’s government presented an economic reactivation plan, which contemplates the preservation and creation of 4.5 million jobs through the investment of 30 billion Bolivians ($4.3 bn). The Direct Job Creation Plan aims to create 50 thousand jobs per month. The municipalities will be able to present their projects to accompany the state plan.
Bolivia register a cumulative $102.25 million trade deficit in April and May. In April, the negative balance was $57 million, while in May, the trade deficit reached $45.25 million. The Bolivian state coffers are highly dependent on exports of products such as natural gas and minerals, which represent up to 81% of the country’s sales abroad.
The national government committed to transfer until July 3, Bs 279,390,000 ($40.1 mn) from the COVID-19 Fund to 340 Autonomous Municipal Governments and Autonomous Indigenous Original Peasant Governments of Bolivia. This Fund is additional to the Law for the Recovery of 12% of the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH) for the Autonomous Territorial Entities and Universities, which will benefit them with the return of $200 million.
Only 25 per cent of companies in Cochabamba were able to obtain bank loans to alleviate their needs after the quarantine decreed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Federation of Private Business Entities of Cochabamba (FEPC), due to the difficulty in presenting guarantees and high-interest rates.
Imports of medical equipment increased in the first four months of this year by 24 per cent over the same period last year. However, between January and April 2020, the country imported 2.8 million kilos of medicines for 74 million dollars, 1 per cent less than in 2019.
Only 1.8% of companies in the industrial sector plan to increase their workforce in 2020, while 73% plan to reduce it, said the president of the National Chamber of Industries (CNI) Ibo Blazicevic. According to the president of the Confederation of Private Businessmen of Bolivia (CEPB), Luis Barbery, more than 600 units from the poultry sector, about 400 travel agencies and 2,000 companies from the hotel sector announced the suspension of their activities in the last month.
Land clearance and titling in Bolivia reached 88.4 million hectares, representing 86% of the total area of more than 102 million hectares. According to information from the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA), 14% is still pending.