SANTIAGO – The government of Chile announced on Wednesday a package of 22 measures intended to spur economic growth, though nearly half of the proposals will require congressional approval to become a reality.
“The growth of the economy has been quite disappointing in recent years and months,” Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes said during a press conference to present the plan.
Initiatives to expand financing options for business, promote exports of services, and cut red tape are already in the testing phase, Valdes said.
Nine other proposals will be implemented through administrative changes, while the 10 remaining measures will require new legislation, he said.
The steps “are in line with budget austerity, the tax changes have minimal fiscal impact, and the measures of Corfo (the state development corporation) are not a major expenditure,” Valdes said.
The package includes the establishment of special credit lines for micro-enterprises and small business as well as support for companies adopting innovative technologies to increase productivity.
President Michelle Bachelet’s government also wants to make regulatory changes that would allow insurance companies and pension funds to invest directly in infrastructure projects.
Further initiatives to “reactivate the economy” will be forthcoming, the finance minister said.
Chile “faces a challenge regarding growth,” the head of the country’s central bank, Rodrigo Vergara, said on Tuesday.
“A country such as Chile, which has averaged growth of more than 5 percent over the last 30 years, cannot be happy” with median annual expansion of roughly 2 percent during the past four years, Vargas told a gathering of business leaders.