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


Daily News - Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Money for farming
After agriculture sector spokesmen complained last week that government offers to fund farms had never materialized, yesterday President Leonel Fernandez again announced the availability of RD$6 billion to fund farming. He said that RD$1.5 billion are already available at the Banco Agricola to finance short-cycle crops. He said that another RD$2 billion would shortly be available at the Banco Reservas and Banco Nacional de la Vivienda (BNV). The remaining RD$2.5 billion requires the BNV to issue bonds. Felix Garcia, president of the Association of Farm Produce Conserves, Jose Ramon Peralta, president of the Dominican Agribusiness Board, and Eric Rivero, president of the National Cattle Ranchers Board were invited to the Presidential Palace yesterday. Upon receiving the information from the President they told Hoy that the sum would enable them to re-launch the farming sector. "These funds are sufficient to start moving the national food production wheel," said Peralta.
Representing the government were Presidency Secretary Cesar Pina Toribio, Agriculture Minister Salvador Jimenez, Administrative Secretary of the Presidency Luis Manuel Bonetti, Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa, and Banco Agricola director Paino Abreu, among others. For the private farming sector, Cesareo Contreras, Jose Peralta, Eric Rivero, Julio Brache, Felix Garcia, Manuel Escano and Miguel de Moya attended.

Bonao governor removed
President Leonel Fernandez has removed the governor of Monsignor Nouel (Bonao) province, Nestor Francisco Melenciano. Melenciano took it upon himself to decide who would receive the 100 homes that are part of the Community Simon Bolivar project built with a Venezuelan government donation for people made homeless by tropical storms Noel and Olga. The Embassy of Venezuela formally protested against what they described as a premature allotment of the houses without consulting the Embassy.

Monitoring school breakfasts
The Ministry of Education has announced that random samples of the public school breakfast supplies would be taken nationwide every 15 days. The measure comes after TV investigative journalist Nuria Piera proved that sub-standard quality rations were being given to public schoolchildren. Education Minister Melanio Paredes said the Ministry had signed four-month contracts with leading suppliers Leche Fresca, Rica, Parmalat, Lacteos Dominicanos (Ladom), Isua de Azua and a northeastern dairy cooperative to provide milk for schoolchildren. The local standard for dairy products is 3% protein and 3.2% fat. The previous minister, Alejandrina German, who had staunchly defended the largest supplier, was removed from the position.

Fenatrano agreement
The Fenatrano transport union has again committed to making payments of RD$3 million a month for five years to the Municipality of Santo Domingo. At the end of his term in 2002, then Mayor Johnny Ventura signed for the city hall as guarantor of a RD$400 million loan to the transporters for the purchase of 452 minibuses. The Presidency also endorsed the loan. Fenatrano has defaulted on the payments, leading the Banco de Reservas to threaten to call the guarantee. The initial loan was for US$16.2 million, but union leader Juan Hubieres says that US$1.8 million was discounted for payment of interests, but the whereabouts of that sum is unknown.

Senate approves loan for airplanes
The Senate has approved a US$93.6 million loan for the purchase of Brazilian Super Tucano airplanes. Santiago Senator Francisco Dominguez Brito and Peravia Senator Wilton Guerrero, both from the ruling government party, have opposed the loan. Dominguez Brito said that he had reports that the Super Tucanos are fuel guzzlers and the cost of the planes is too high. He said that the airplanes would not succeed in protecting Dominican skies from illicit flights unless an investment is made in complementary radars and speedboats to complete drug dealer pursuit operations. Guerrero favored postponing the debate on the airplanes.

Government needs to restrict spending
The Dominican Republic Industrial Association (AIRD) says that the most recent Central Bank economic report proves that the government needs to puts its finances in order. They said that while fiscal collections increased 8.9% from January to July compared to the previous period in 2007, government spending was up 32.3%.
While he conceded that as indicated by the Central Bank, most of the difference is due to external shocks, especially the increase in fuel prices, lack of discipline in government spending is also largely responsible for the deficit.
AIRD president Manuel Diez Cabral expressed his concern at what he described as the unsustainable deficit of the current account of the Balance of Payments, a deficit that grew to US$2.65 billion during the first semester of the year. He said that there needed to be an increase in foreign exchange receipts or a decline in hard currency spending. "The best way to counteract this deficit is for the government to put the measures of fiscal austerity that have been announced in past months into practice once and for all," stated Diez Cabral.

Decline in oil prices not trickling down
While the government has been quick to pass the oil price increases to consumers, the opposite is not the case. El Dia reports that although the price of oil has dropped by US$55 a barrel in the past seven weeks, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has only dropped a mere RD$9. Contradictorily, the price of a gallon of propane has been increasing, in what is perceived as the prelude of the elimination of the propane subsidy. The petroleum law establishes that local prices will float according to international market prices. That means prices that float up when oil prices rise, and they should float down when oil prices decline.
In January, with petroleum costing US$88, the local price for a gallon of gasoline was RD$155 the gallon. By March, a barrel of oil was selling for US$99 and locally, gasoline was priced at RD$167. In June, with oil at US$128, the price was RD$191. When a barrel of oil reached US$147, a record in July, the gallon of gasoline sold for RD$197. Regular gasoline is selling for RD$187 this week.
A report in Diario Libre also looks into the situation, explaining that gasoline is costing RD$31 more than in February, when the international oil price was at the present level. During the week of 16-22 February, the Ministry of Industry & Commerce reported a price of RD$156.30, with the international fuel price at US$100.
The government is raking in the difference, says Ramon Alburquerque, a PRD opposition spokesman and expert in energy matters. He said that now with the barrel at US$92, regular gasoline should be selling for RD$110. "The government is reaping the profits, because if it gets hold of RD$70 per gallon, in addition to taxes, and 240 million of gallons are consumed per year, in a year, it would have made RD$17.7 billion," he said. He estimated the government is making at least RD$48 million a day for failing to pass the difference in prices to consumers.
Superintendent of Banks Rafael Camilo told El Dia that the drop in oil prices means US$150 million in savings for the government.
Central Bank governor Hector Valdez Albizu says the declining prices mean less expenses for the government, not savings. He estimated that the government would need to spend US$652 million less, which is positive for the economy.
El Dia said the government is ignoring public complaints about the high price of fuel.

Inflation at 9.4%
The Central Bank reports that the Consumer Price Index is now at 9.4%, accumulated from January to August. Increases in food prices and the cost of school tuition affected the rates. Inflation in August was up 0.09% compared to July.
See www.bancentral.gov.do

Navy man arrested in Bani drug case
Navy captain Genaro Silverio Balbuena is under arrest for his possible role in the murder of seven suspected drug dealers in Paya, Peravia province (Bani). This is the second Navy officer arrested after the abduction and killing of six Colombians and a Dominican on 4 August in Ojo de Agua, Paya. Two other Navy officers are under suspicion.
The arrest was confirmed by Navy chief Vice Admiral Julio Cesar Ventura Bayonet.
Sources told Hoy that dozens of military and police officers are under investigation in connection with the massacre.
As reported in Hoy, last month police in East Santo Domingo arrested another officer and his wife with an undisclosed amount of cocaine. Meanwhile, it is reported that the Navy is also investigating the possible participation of three other of its officers. Silverio Balbuena was arrested in an operation in Puerto Plata and sent to the Ministry of Armed Forces for questioning.

Who are the brains behind the killings?
Senator Wilton Guerrero, who has been vocal about high-ranking government complicity with drug dealers, is asking National Police Chief Major General Rafael Guillermo Guzman Fermin to identify the intellectual authors of the Paya massacre. As reported in El Caribe, the senator said that together with revealing who are the brains behind the killings, the whereabouts of the missing drugs and the money that was in the house at the time should also be presented. Police spokesman Nelson Rosario has said that more information will be forthcoming on the killings today.
Senator Guerrero said yesterday that there are two police forces in the country -- one of honest men and women and another made up by criminals. Likewise, he said he does not trust Dominican justice, which he described as "one-eyed".
Guerrero has criticized as "superficial" the work done by the commission President Leonel Fernandez appointed to investigate the crime.

Alvarez Renta hospitalized
Sentenced to 10 years in jail for involvement in the Baninter banking fraud, financier Luis Alvarez Renta was hospitalized at the Center for Diagnostics, Advanced Medicine and Telemedicine (CEDIMAT) at Plaza de la Salud yesterday. The Department of Prisons reported that he was in the clinic for the removal of a gastric balloon. His doctor said he was suffering from discomfort and dehydration. Previously, Alvarez Renta had been interned at the Corazones Unidos clinic.
The Department of Prisons said Renta would be sent back to the Najayo jail today.

Insomnia and permissiveness
Psychiatrist Luis Emilio Montalvo says that 67% of the patients he sees in his office suffer from insomnia. He also said that depression was very common in the DR. In an interview in Hoy, he also warned that Dominican parents are too permissive, and urged them to return to moral and ethical values and to be less lax with their offspring. In his opinion, it is necessary to go back to the days when family meant values and supervision. He said that after the 1960s, Dominican families went from being extremely repressive to focusing on pleasure, and society has gradually adopted the perception that money can solve everything. He said that from being controlled and repressed, today's youth have a carefree attitude and a passion for pleasure without regard for who might get harmed in the process. He said in the 1960s and 70s there were many neurotic personalities, drowning because of the repression, but now parents let their offspring do as they please and this has had a direct effect on society. He said that neurotic conducts persist, but mainly those are people without control and that do not respect limits. He said there is a deficit of values in this society today. As a result, he says that young people see drug consumption and drug trafficking as a solution to their problems. "We cannot continue educating our young people with the subtle message that all can be had," he said.
Dr. Montalvo Arzeno is in charge of the Mental Health Unit at the Center for Diagnostics, Advanced Medicine and Telemedicine (CEDIMAT).

DR does well in track masters
The DR won a gold medal, a silver and two bronze in the XVIII 2008 North & Central America & Caribbean World Masters Track & Field Championships that took place in Florida. Medal winners were Jose Trinidad (gold and silver in marathon), Carmen Amelia Rodriguez (5,000 meters women) and Cristian Veras (5,000 meters men).

Symphony Season
The Fall Symphony season begins today, Wednesday, 17 September, with a concert at the National Theater. The next concerts are set for Tuesday, 23 September. There will be two more in October, this time at the Maximo Aviles Blonda hall at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Invited pianist Italian Antonio Pompa Baldi, medal winner at the Van Cliburn Piano Contest will perform during the opening concert. Maestro Alvaro Monzano will conduct the orchestra. Pompa Baldi will play Concert for Piano No. 2 by Camille Saint Saens. Also on the program is the Danse Macabre by the same composer, and Symphony No. 5 by Cesar Franck. On Tuesday, 23 September, the National Symphony Orchestra will play Jobim Sinfonico, with Brazilian conductor Luis Gustavo Petri.
For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar

Rains forecast
While the Meteorological Office is forecasting rains, no tropical storms are in development in the path of the Caribbean for the coming week. Nevertheless, there is a tropical wave that should bring rains shortly.
See www.dr1.com/forums/weather-beyond/

La Cadena is selling carrots for RD$6.95lb, potatoes for RD$10.95lb, and avocados for RD$9.95ea.
Pola Supermarket is advertising 35% off its fresh fruits and vegetables.
Carrefour Supermarket is advertising celery for RD$3.95lb, squash for RD$5.95lb, carrots for RD$6.90lb, yuca for RD$14.95lb, papaya for RD$7.95lb, potatoes for RD$11.90lb, beets for RD$6.95lb.
El Nacional supermarket has 20% off fruits and vegetables. Imported vegetables are 40% off.
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.