Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service


Daily News - Monday, 14 July 2008

PetroCaribe eases terms
At the V Extraordinary Summit of the Petrocaribe Nations in Venezuela yesterday, the signatories of the PetroCaribe Agreement approved Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's proposal aimed at easing the payment terms for oil imported under the terms of the agreement. President Chavez was responding to the near universal appeal for easier payment conditions in the face of the increasing oil prices, by suggesting that as long as oil prices exceed US$100 per barrel, payment on 60% of the bill could be financed for 25 years and just 40% of the bill would be payable at 90 days. El Caribe says that the members of the V Extraordinary Summit of the Petrocaribe Agreement approved the deal. President Chavez even went as far as to say that if oil hit the "undesired" level of US$200 a barrel, then just 30% would be payable in 90 days and the remaining 70% would be financed over 25 years at 1% interest with a two-year grace period.
Previously, Dominican President Leonel Fernandez described the current series of increases in the price of oil as "an abuse" that affected the economies of non-oil producing countries. He re-launched his call for oil producing nations to use some of their windfall earnings to ease the pressure on these poorer economies and suggested long-term soft loans for investment in developing these countries. Fernandez praised Venezuela for its stand against oil speculation.

PetroCaribe pipeline to Haiti
The construction of a 10-inch, 300-kilometer gas pipeline from the Dominican Republic to Haiti was approved at the IV Ministerial Meeting of the PetroCaribe ministers yesterday. The decision could turn the Dominican Republic into a fuel distribution center for the entire Caribbean. One expert told Hoy reporters that the country has the technical know-how, the infrastructure and the storage capacity to handle such a pipeline. The system would import, gasify and store the gas while the pipeline was being built, and would handle liquid Natural Gas as well as Compressed Natural Gas. It is expected to enter service within two or three years. Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa also said that the Dominican Republic could supply Venezuela with surplus foods and tourist services as part of repayments for the oil it receives from Venezuela.

Chavez to help farmers
The government of Venezuela will sell the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations 100,000 tons of urea, a major fertilizer used for agriculture. The urea will be sold at a 40% discount and with easy re-payment conditions, basically as the crops come in. Hugo Chavez, the host of the V Extraordinary Summit of the PetroCaribe Nations made the announcement yesterday, as part of what he calls the "PetroFood" plan which will put US$480 million to promote agriculture in Caribbean countries. This initiative is just one in a series of programs aimed at helping the 17 PetroCaribe nations face the challenges of the high oil prices on the world markets.

DGII will call on 50,000
The Tax Department (DGII) will notify 50,000 taxpayers that inconsistencies have been detected in their tax returns. This is part of a process that seeks to reduce tax evasion to a target level of 6%. Juan Hernandez, the head of the Internal Revenue Department told Listin Diario reporter Candida Acosta that his office has detected false tax ID numbers and irregularities in many tax return forms. Hernandez said that the idea is to control at least 70% of all cash transactions through the application of 'fiscal printers', a network of printers that is now in operation at many of the larger commercial establishments. This is why a customer is often asked if they require a 'fiscal receipt' when making a purchase.

Metro to start in December
The Santo Domingo Metro will not be able to enter service until December, according to the latest reports. Listin Diario writes that in order for the Metro to enter commercial service it needs to have at least half of the 57 cars ready for service, and, according to Transport Reorganization Office (OPRET) spokesperson Leonel Carrasco, a lot of clean-up work needs to be done in the rail yards and in training personnel who will be serving the public. More Metro cars are expected to arrive next week and reach the minimum number of units needed to begin service, and others are expected in August and September. A good deal of detail work is also needed, according to Carrasco. This includes signage to keep people informed and on the move. Of course, tidying up the rail yard is currently the most pressing issue, since this is the area where trains enter and leave the terminal points at each end of the system, and they are filled with switches and other mechanisms used to control the trains, all controlled electronically from the central office.

New funds from Europe
On 1 July the Tenth European Development Fund was inaugurated with EUR180 million, of which France contributed 19%. These funds will be used for a range of development projects during the 2008-2013 period. The projects are directed at fighting poverty and improving governance and infrastructure. French ambassador Cecile Pozzo di Borgo gave the details during a luncheon at Multimedia del Caribe media group, which includes El Caribe newspaper and CDN Radio and TV news stations. The infrastructure projects include schools, highways and bridges as well as aqueducts. The ambassador told the media executives that the French Embassy is particularly interested in assisting the frontier region around Elias Pina, since this is one of the DR's poorest regions.

IMF closes office in DR
The International Monetary Fund is closing down its office in the Dominican Republic at the end of this month. The announcement was made to the press by Eric Offerdahl, the IMF country representative. The decision to close the local office is part of an internal process of reorganization and modernization that will see the closure about 20 offices around the world, including Latin America. As part of this process, there will be regional offices covering more than one country. Offerdahl pointed out that despite the local office closure, the IMF will keep its obligation to work closely with the Dominican authorities and try to support their goals of sustainable development and macro-economic stability. The IMF representative said that the Dominican Republic has made a good recovery from the banking crisis of 2003 and had successfully completed the Stand-by Agreement with the IMF by January this year. Finally, Offerdahl said that the IMF will take part in a meeting between the Dominican government and financial institutions planned for August and will send a team to help monitor the process.

Economic structure changes
Former president of the Herrera Industries Association, Jesus Moreno Portalatin urged that President Leonel Fernandez announce structural changes in the economy so that the DR can meet the effects of the oil crisis. The President has said next week he will announce his plan to confront the crisis. Moreno warns, as reported in Diario Libre, that the longer the government postpones reforming its own spending, and making the government bureaucracy less costly and more agile, the more painful the effects of the international crisis will be on the DR economy requiring restrictive monetary policy measures with their negative effects on the quality of life, jobs and business. "I find it counterproductive that the Central Bank, that has applied measures to correct the expansion of the money in circulation and control inflation, has been left alone by the government and there has not been a complementary frugal fiscal policy," commented the businessman.

Demand for foodstuffs falls
If the Dominican government wants food to reach the people at lower prices, it will have to share in the production costs, otherwise food prices will continue to rise for consumers, reports the Listin Diario today. This statement was issued by Oliverio Espaillat and Cesareo Contreras, the presidents of the Dominican Federation of Rice Growers and the Cattle Farmers Association. Meanwhile the heads of the poultry and pork producers concurred, saying that they have had to reduce their production schedules drastically due to the fall in demand. According to these producers there is a lack of currency in the marketplace. Poultry farmers said that they have reduced their production from 16.5 million units to 14.5 million a month and the pig farmers say that they have reduced their output by 10,000 units.

People take steps to save fuel, energy
People are turning off refrigerators, lights and controlling television viewing hours in order to reduce their electricity consumption. They are also doing fewer errands in their cars to lower their fuel bills. These are just several of the many steps people have been forced to take in order to live with the new prices of gasoline and the high cost of electricity. A trader, Lorenzo Solano, told El Caribe reporter Claudia Rodriguez that he has been forced to take several steps, both at home and in his business, and these include turning off electrical appliances when they are not in use and only doing laundry on Saturdays. Even the transport unions have been forced to reduce fuel consumption. Juan Hubieres of Fenatrano told the reporter that his union has reduced the number of vehicles plying the streets during off hours, especially during these months when schools and the UASD University are on vacation.
But working against everyone are the blackouts. Ironically, power bills are higher when there are blackouts because popular inverters cost more to charge to serve power. Likewise, the blackouts cost businesses and residences millions in costly diesel fuel to run alternate power generators.

JCE will debate its resolutions
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) will hold an internal debate about the merits and constitutionality of its Resolutions 017 and 12-2007. JCE president Julio Cesar Castanos Guzman told Hoy reporter Loyda Pena that this Wednesday the entire Board will meet to discuss these issues, and debate a resolution introduced by magistrate Aura Celeste Fernandez that suggests a complete overhaul of the Civil Registry system. The board will also hear from Eddy Olivares and magistrate Fernandez to discuss the rescinding of the two troubled measures. On the issue of the proposed overhaul of the entire system, Fernandez has suggested that the JCE join forces with Congress, the Supreme Court and the Justice Department in order to clean up the entire system, which is considered to be rife with false documents.

Not really an honor
The Dominican Republic holds the dubious honor of occupying one of the top three slots in the Americas for its modern day slave trade. An estimated 50,000 Dominican women are estimated to be victims of human trafficking, and this figure does not include either men or children. According to Diario Libre, in her address to a seminar "Protection of persons affected by the slave trade", First Lady Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez said that this exploitation of migrant women is a crime against the state and its victims are mostly the result of poverty, sexual or racial discrimination, marginalization and unequal development. The First Lady emphasized that the elimination of the people trafficking in all its manifestations is an urgent necessity and a high priority. The keynote speaker listed the factors that promote this treatment of human beings, mentioning economic difficulties, social violence, crime, the hope of a better life in developed countries and trickery by people in these countries. In order to eliminate the slave trade, it is necessary to eliminate these causes.
The First Lady pointed out the need to create a well-thought out, well-conceived strategic national plan of action in order to fight this most lucrative of crimes. She said that the Dominican Republic has been trying to combat the slave trade since 1999, starting with the creation of the Inter-Institutional Committee for the Protection of Immigrant Women (CIPROM) which was set up under Decree 97-99 and regulated by law 137-03 which outlaws such dealings.
US ambassador Robert Fannin said that the United States has urged the Dominican government to intensify its efforts to investigate and punish anyone who traffics in human beings, especially government officials of any rank.

Supreme Court denies appeal
The Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic (SCJ) has denied an appeal against the sentences imposed by the lower court on the people found guilty in the BanInter scandal. The decision against hearing the appeal was announced by judges Hugo Alvarez Valencia, Victor Jose Castellanos, Julio Ibarra Rios, Dulce Rodriguez de Goris and Edgar Hernandez Mejia. The magistrates ratified the decision of the Third Penal Chamber of the Court of appeals of the National District that called for a 10-year prison term for Ramon Baez Figueroa and Marcos Baez Cocco, who were sentenced to 10 years in jail for breach of trust, withholding information, asset laundering, and violating the Monetary and Finance Law. Luis Alvarez Renta was sentenced to 10 years in jail for asset laundering. Vivian Lubrano de Castillo was sentenced to five years in jail for complicity in the bank fraud. She was ordered to pay a RD$1.5 million fine. The court ordered Ramon Baez Figueroa, Marcos Baez Cocco and Vivian Lubrano to compensate the Superintendence of Banks for RD$68.8 billion in damages.
The court also denied the appeals of the Central Bank, the Superintendent of Banking and BanInter.
According to Diario Libre, the Court said that basic logic and fairness dictated against hearing the appeal, since the Appeals Court had handed down a decision that was correct and in no way violated the Constitution or any of the international agreements to which the Dominican Republic is a signatory, or any of the laws cited in the case.

DR third in Miss Universe
Miss Dominican Republic was third in the Miss Universe contest held in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza was crowned Miss Universe 2008 that night, giving Venezuela its fifth title in the international beauty pageant. This year four of the final five candidates were from Latin America. Miss Colombia was judged first finalist and Miss Dominican Republic was second finalist. Russia and Mexico rounded out the final five. According to the AP news service, Miss USA repeated her pratfall of last year's Miss USA, which might have cost her a place in the final selection. The judges in this year's contest were Jerry Springer, Spice Girl Melanie Brown, fashion designer Roberto Cavelli, Puerto Rican actress Nadine Velazquez, stylist Louis Licare, Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins and Donald Trump, Jr.
Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service

The contents of this webpage are copyright 1996-2015.  DR1. All Rights Reserved.