Bolivia’s international reserves decreased by US$821 million in the first quarter of 2019. The reserves fell from SU$8.9 billion in December 2018 to SU$8.1 billion by 22 March. The Government insisted that the money is being used in productive projects but some analysts warned that this accelerating level of decrease could impact the country’s payment capacity.
Remittances from Argentina fell by 29% due to the crisis in this country. Inflation and measures from the Argentinian government to prevent the outflow of foreign currency are among the reasons for the decline. According to the Bolivian Central Bank (BCB) remittances from the rest of the world also fell 1.6%.
The use of digital technology in the banking sector exceeded 50% of the total financial transactions in 2018, said the executive secretary of the Association of Private Banks of Bolivia (Asoban), Nelson Villalobos.
The government announced that the phase of confrontation with the private sector is over. With a strong handshake, the vice-president, Álvaro García Linera, welcomed the new president of the Confederation of Private Entrepreneurs of Bolivia (CEPB) Luis Barbery. Regarding the economic model said that it requires some adjustments and proposed to work tirelessly to improve “business climate”. He proposed a critical path based on four axes: a) the best legal and political conditions to boost private investment; b) incentive to national production with quality at larger scales; c) provision of goods and services for our population; and d) implementation of efficient mechanisms to stimulate exports. García Linera proposed dialogue and agreed that the high bureaucracy is one of the worst enemies of business ventures, but made it clear that the tax issue is important to maintain balance in the public sector.
The regulation seeks to monitor multinational platforms such as Airbnb and Trivago, which offer lodging services in hotels and private homes, or to the service providers of pay-TV services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The National Tax Service (SIN) plans to create an application or make an alliance with the transnational WhatsApp to monitor the commercial activities in that social network, said the president of the SIN, Mario Cazón.
Oil companies Shell, PAE and Repsol pledged an investment of US $ 900 million for the exploration of the Iñiguazú well, the Hydrocarbons Ministry reported. To make this commitment viable, in the presence of Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Oil Transnationals signed the protocolization of a Contract with the State Company YPFB. Iñiguazú, with an area of 64,350 hectares, is in the reserved areas of YPFB within the Subandean Area of the Gran Chaco Province in the Department of Tarija. The contract stipulates that companies must drill an exploratory well this year and another six until 2025.
Bolivia’s Labour Minister, Milton Gómez, announced on Wednesday that he will convene a tripartite meeting that includes workers and Chinese companies; to deal mainly with the violation of labour rights, among other issues.
Six samples of Bolivian cacao will participate in the International Cacao Award 2019 (ICA, for its acronym in English), which will take place in October in Paris, France, where producers and buyers from around the world will meet. This global competition is held every two years and in the previous five versions, Bolivia reached the top positions with high-end ecological cacao and this year aims to achieve more.
Lima will host the third meeting of the countries part of the bi-oceanic train project encouraged by Bolivia, to advance in its concretion to unite the Atlantic-Pacific oceans. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamin Blanco, reported the next appointment but did not give details about the date or month. The project of the Bioceanic Railway Integration Corridor (CFBI) is encouraged by Bolivia and it plans to link the ports of Santos, in the Atlantic (Brazil), and Ilo in the Pacific (Peru) through a railway line, with an eye on the Asian markets. Uruguay and Paraguay are part of the mega project and will be united from the Paraguay-Paraná waterway. Germany, Switzerland and Spain are interested in participating in the financing of the enterprise that, in Bolivia’s opinion, is viable. President Evo Morales encourages the project to make Bolivia a kind of commercial hub between both oceans.
This is the first action of this kind since Puerto Jennefer was opened on the border between Bolivia and Brazil, at a distance of 600 km from Santa Cruz de la Sierra. This port, located at the head of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, is an alternative to the terminals of Arica & Iquique (in Chile) and Ilo (in Peru) for the mobilization of Bolivian cargo. In October of last year, President Evo Morales authorized the port complex – Jennefer, Gravetal and Central Aguirre – installed on the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, as international ports.