Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2014 Contents MAY 2014 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
REGIONAL | BG13
Costa Rica s government will "definitely"
lower the forecast for this year s fiscal deficit
as the government steps up efforts to fight
tax evasion in the Central American country,
Vice President Helio Fallas said.
President Luis Guillermo Solis, who took
office May 8, called the widening shortfall
the "biggest challenge" facing the US$45
billion economy, a shift from his statement
in February when he was "worried about
the deficit, but not scandalized by it." The
previous government forecast the budget
gap would widen to six per cent of gross
domestic product this year from 5.4 per cent
Fallas, who is also finance minister, said
the government is committed to Solis s cam-
paign vow not to raise taxes for two years.
Before then, it will cut spending and imple-
ment technology to better identify tax
evaders, as well as seeking legislation over
the next one to two years to help boost rev-
Fallas said that by not filling current public
sector vacancies, the government could save
six billion colons (US$11 million) per year.
The last budget was about US$13 billion.
"We will improve tax collection and have
better control of spending," Fallas said in an
interview yesterday in his office in the capital,
San Jose, without saying what the new deficit
figure would be. "Our plan is to move forward
while new legislation is under way."
Moody s Investors Service lowered its out-
look on Costa Rica to negative from neutral
in September, citing the rising debt burden
and widening deficit. Tax evasion accounts
for as much as 8.0 per cent of GDP, Fallas
"If we could collect most of that, I won t say all
of that because it s impossible, but most of that, there
would be no fiscal deficit," said Fallas, 67, who served
as housing minister from 2002-2005 and planning
minister from 1990-1991.
Solis and Fallas will also seek to boost investment
in Costa Rica after Intel Corp. and Bank of America
Corp. surprised the country by announcing plans to
fire 3,000 workers before the election, citing the need
to consolidate operations elsewhere. Last week, Mex-
ican appliance maker Controladora Mabe SA,
announced it would stop manufacturing stoves in
Costa Rica and would fire about 350 workers, news
outlet Amelia Rueda said, citing an interview with
the company s local director.
The decision by Intel, which drew global attention
to the country of 4.7 million when it invested in the
1990s, will have a limited impact on tax revenue
because it operated in a free trade zone, Fallas said.
In 2013, about 21 per cent of Costa Rica s exports of
goods came from Intel, according to investment pro-
motion agency CINDE.
Citigroup cut its GDP growth forecast for next year
in half to 2.2 per cent in the wake of the firings.
Delaying the fiscal package until next year or 2016
will make it more difficult to get the bill through Con-
gress, the Eurasia Group said in a May 12 report.
"Though Costa Rica can cover its costs for now,
the fiscal outlook will likely remain challenging,"
according to the report. (Bloomberg)
Costa Rica will cut budget deficit outlook for 2014
Reef Worlds Inc, the leading underwater tourism
development firm in the United States, is introducing
their new experiential Underwater Worlds for the
Caribbean at all inclusive resorts with a new US$4.5
million development budget.
The programme is designed to help resorts in the
Caribbean grow market share, increase customer sat-
isfaction, and develop a competitive edge through
unique, exciting, and interactive underwater worlds
designed for the environment and for tourism. These
completely unique and exciting underwater sites are
featured on a resorts own footprint at no upfront cost
to the resort.
Consumers want more from their vacation; Reef
Worlds offers a solution.
A recent study showed that 70 per cent of consumers
felt more positive about a resort after participating
in an experiential event. For time share and fractional
ownership properties having the ability to offer new
and innovative on site experiences translates into
stronger resort sales.
"We understand that most resorts do not have a
development budget in place to design and build large
scale underwater habitats for wildlife that look and
feel like lost civilisations so we decided to partner
with a few select resorts and build these sites for
them. Resort experiential offerings come in many
shapes and sizes and waters ports activities are high
on consumer s to-do lists. We created something for
everyone that takes experiencing the ocean environ-
ment to new heights," said Mike Wallace, director of
development, Reef Worlds Inc.
By providing underwater habitat creation for regional
wildlife in an accessible environment, Reef Worlds
creates extraordinary and memorable guest experiences.
Participants enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving on
lost cities, surrounded by new corals, colourful tropical
fish, and a completely reinvigorated waterfront for
the resort property.
Reef Worlds is in the process of partnering with
select resorts and is actively seeking additional dynamic
resort partnerships with large chain resorts at this
time. (Caribbean News Now)
US underwater tourism
development firm to invest
US$4.5m in Caribbean resorts
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