New report reveals £9.8bn lost from privatisation in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica’s economic performance since it implemented a $4.5bn privatization plan in 2016 has lagged other Latin American countries.

The government estimates that nearly 90% of Costa Rica was privatised, leaving the country with the world’s worst per capita loss of wealth, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by the Costa Rican government, says the country has lost more than $9.2bn ($11bn) since privatisation was implemented in 2016. 

Read more about Costa Rica:The Costa Rican state has announced it will spend $2.5 billion on the privatization of a number of sectors, including education, social welfare, the army, the navy and the national postal service.

The plan will see the privatization and re-franchisement of 1.7 million workers, as well as the re-instatement of 7,000 retired teachers and civil servants. 

Costa Rica has faced international criticism over the plan, with criticism ranging from the right-wing government’s decision to allow the privatisation of public services to the right wing opposition.

In 2017, the Costa Rica government approved the plan on the grounds that it would create jobs, boost economic growth and reduce inequality. 

The Costa Rica Economic Review reported that in 2017, Costa Rica experienced a growth rate of 3.9% and the number of households with access to the internet had grown from 7 to 20 million. 

“Our privatisation plan has not brought a lot of jobs, we have lost almost $1.6bn in the past year alone, and we are still losing money,” Costa Rica President José Luis Videgaray said at the time. 

He added that the government was still paying salaries to employees who were laid off as a result of the privatisations.

“If the government had been doing what it had been told, we would have been able to attract investment, attract new jobs and bring in more than 40,000 new jobs,” VidegarAY said.

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