Editorial from El Deber:
The second Christmas bonus
For the third consecutive year and based on questionable figures on the growth of the economy, the Government has decided to force companies and public entities to award the so-called second Christmas bonus. Thanks to the pressure of private entrepreneurs, the government has agreed that such benefit be paid until April 2016.
To begin with, these comings and goings reveal a worrying degree of improvisation, which reflects the political color of that measure. In any minimally rational country, such decisions, which involve millions in expenditures, adopted after a process of consultation and study demonstrating that the alleged cure is not worse than the disease. The first entity to raise the cry to heaven for this measure has been the Catholic Church, which is struggling to meet this benefit, because it has no productive companies that could enable them to generate income. But it is not alone. Thousands of small and medium enterprises can not pay double Christmas bonus because they simply do not have the resources to do so.
The government is hiding behind the alleged good performance of the Bolivian economy, which would result in further growth to 5% in 2015, ranking among the first in Latin America. However, we all know that these figures are a mirage that can lead to deception. The Bolivian economy has already been hit, and very hard, by the ravages of the global financial crisis, the key factor is the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the sharp drop in oil prices and raw materials.
By this process, the General Treasury of the Nation (TGN) will suffer a fall of $3,250 million this year ($2,500 million dollars, in hydrocarbons, and $750 million dollars in mining), which will result in less revenue for the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH) and consequently fewer resources to departments and municipalities. In this context, the slowdown of the economy directly affects private companies, which are those that will have to pool resources to pay double Christmas bonus to workers. The move obviously discourage those SMEs that want to open activities aimed at job creation.
Hopefully the authorities will reflect on this grave situation and take measures to boost production and ensure sustainable employment.
Delusions of grandeur fill the minds of top MAS leaders… their relentless aim to perpetuate in government will seriously damage Bolivian businesses at all levels. Current demagogue leaders want to follow the steps of the inept Venezuelan leaders… it is a total shame!