Santa Cruz is the economic driving force in Bolivia, as such, must draw the lines for the economic future of Bolivia. El Deber reports:
Big and new challenges
The Santa Cruz economy grows despite everything and expects seven laws
Crucian entrepreneurship accepts the challenge of the Government to continue breaking economic records and raise export. There are rules that must be amended to expand the agricultural frontier
“Agro-industry, the agro-export, sugar and alcohol of Santa Cruz have been products that contributed most to the economy of the country, despite the limitations for export”, stressed the President of the Confederation of private businessmen of Bolivia, Daniel Sánchez.
To September 2012, Santa Cruz exports grew by 21% in relation to the previous year, from $667 million to $807 million dollars. Non-traditional exports also recovered by 35%. Star products were soy and its derivatives that grew by $149 million, seeds and soy beans which increased abysmally in $109 million and sunflower and derivative products which increased by $20 million, during the last year.
José Luis Parada, Secretary of Treasury of the Governor’s office, even stressed that a century ago Santa Cruz only contributed 1% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and now does so with 27% (more than $ 7,248 million). In the same period, payment of taxes of the region (excluding the IDH [hydrocarbon related tax]) also increased from 1% to almost 50%.
Santa Cruz represents, 70% of the food security of the country and one of its main challenges for the coming year – affirmed Parada – must be to expand the agricultural frontier in at least half a million hectares.
Today, the business sector of the region look with optimism the 2013 and assumes the challenge to follow the path of economic records, as the central Government expects it, but it requires greater sincerity with productive laws and permanent green light to agro-industrial exports and non-traditional products that had suffered obstacles over this ending year.
A broad debate
El Deber organized a forum in which six representatives of the productive and business sector of the region took part.
Gabriel Dabdoub, President of the Entrepreneurs’ Federation of Santa Cruz, raised the need for greater public-private articulation, that includes the national Government, the governorates and municipalities with the entrepreneurial sector, in order to channel more support to the productive sector of Santa Cruz and the country, and create more jobs with a view to a plan of long haul targeting 2025.
Santa Cruz businessmen considered that there are rules which are urgent to tackle, such as the regulation of the law of mother earth, investment and banking laws, of the social economic function, land clearing and burning, as well as the forest law and the law against illegal [violent] take-overs.
Julio Roda, Wilfredo Rojo and Pablo Antelo agreed and insisted on the importance of unrestricted export release of agro-industrial products not to repeat the bitter experience of 2012, when quotas and external markets for soy, rice and sugar, among other products, were lost.
For the President of the Chamber of Industry, Commerce, Services and Tourism of Santa Cruz (Cainco), Luis Barbery, the possibility of maintaining a growth of the national economy from 5.2% this year will happen if politicians approve the draft investment law, duly agreed [with the private sector] and that the Banking Law does not constrain growth and the soundness of the financial sector who are open to provide credit.
For Guillermo Shrupp the State must not be the competitor of the private sector but a promoter of development, with the formalization of enterprises and the promotion of investment in factories of construction materials, as it is the case of Yacuses, in the East zone.
A point of particular attention in which agreed the panelists as public-private management is the restoration of trade with the United States, a market needed for Bolivia, since it is still the biggest for domestic products.
They also see the need to take care of the market of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and incorporate entrepreneurs in negotiations for the accession of Bolivia to Mercosur, because it is a powerful group that can open doors in countries of the European Union
THE problems in 2012 management year, by sectors
1. The 2012 was a good year for agriculture, by the weather and yields, but sugar and soybeans exports dropped.
2. Exporters had a mediocre year, but not by trade but by the obstacles and logistical problems.
3. The forestry sector cut its supply, and timber prices rose. Exports fell to 50% by external factors.
4. The builders faced shortages and speculation of inputs, particularly cement.
5 Take-overs continued in the territory. There were 64 illegal land occupations until December 2012.
The private sector has clearly identified the issues and the expected role of the State, I can only hope current government comes to its senses…