27 May News Brief Central America/Caribbean

Karla Montaner

MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Tax reform planned for 2010: Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and delegates from the High Council for Private Enterprise (COSEP), an organisation which represents 16 business associations and 30 trade unions in the country, will begin joint meetings in October to develop tax reforms for 2010. Other productive, cooperative and labour sectors will also join the discussions. In light of the global financial crisis, and in order to encourage continued investment by producers, Nicaragua's tax policy will remain unchanged in 2009.

[La Prensa de Nicaragua, Prensa Latina]

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Martinelli announces application of international anticorruption measures: Panamanian President-elect Ricardo Martinelli, who will take his post on 1 July, will execute an action plan approved by the Organisation of American States to punish and eradicate bribery of government employees. He will also apply the UN-recommended Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Panama will also ratify its legal and obligatory commitment to combat embezzlement which in 2008 cost the country more than US$8.5 million, in addition to the high social cost it exacts.

[Prensa Latina, Notimex]

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Hillary Clinton announces visit to El Salvador and Honduras: As part of her commitment to promote a greater rapprochement with Central America, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the inauguration of El Salvador’s President-elect Mauricio Funes on 1 June. While in El Salvador, Clinton will also take part in a ministerial meeting of the “Pathways to Prosperity” initiative. In Honduras, Clinton will meet with representatives of the Organisation of American States to continue talks on issues raised at the Summit of the Americas such as energy security and environmental sustainability.

[Notimex, EFE, El Financiero]

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica – Increased investment in public infrastructure: Costa Rica will increase investment in public infrastructure in a bid to reactivate its economy and overcome the effects of the world economic crisis. Priority projects include the restructuring of its electricity systems and hydroelectric dams and the construction and improvement of roads. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will finance these plans with funds in excess of US$1 billion. According to IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, Central America will be among the first regions to emerge from the crisis because, generally speaking, countries in the region have maintained healthy reserve levels and manageable fiscal deficits.

[La Nación, La Prensa Gráfica]

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