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Daily News - Tuesday, 02 June 2009

Corporation Law 478-08 postponed?
President Leonel Fernandez sent a bill to Congress that would extend to 24 months the period for converting Dominican companies to the business structures established in the new Corporation Law 478-08 (Ley de Sociedades Comerciales y Empresas Individuales de Responsabilidad Limitada).
The National Business Council (CONEP) had asked for an extension of 18 months for companies to adapt to the new rules.
Companies with assets of RD$30 million and more need to be restructured by 11 June 2009 in order to continue doing business.
The Law 478-08 also creates flexible structures for small companies, so these can be incorporated with just one owner and no longer need to have seven shareholders to incorporate.
The National Competitiveness Council has lobbied for the implementation of the law that is described as a quantum leap in making it easier to do business in the Dominican Republic.
You can follow the story here: www.dr1.com/forums/legal/88055-corporate-alert-new-company-law-enacted.html

Executive extends bond regulations
The President signed the bill for the extension of the judicial regulations on bonds issued by the Dominican state for the operation of public credit. Law163-09 now orders that bonds issued by the state to cover the deficit of the electric sector for Fiscal Year 2008 be subject to the judicial regulations within the Law. This also means that interest earned by the bonds and the payment of the bonds are free of any central government or municipal charges and taxes.
At the same time, the law establishes that the bonds can be accepted as a guarantee or bond by the Dominican state, its autonomous organizations or municipalities, with the exception of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, and that they may be used by insurance companies to fund their technical reserves, and by the administrators of Pension Funds as investment instruments if authorized by the National Social Security Council on the recommendation of the Dominican Social Security System. The fiscal bonds can be used at the exchange rate established by the Central Bank as payment for taxes after the due date of the bonds themselves.

Segura on the IMF about accord
The executive vice president of the Dominican Corporation of State-run Electricity Enterprises (CDEEE) Radhames Segura said the government has not decided on the signing of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund. He did confirm that the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) are encouraging the government to step up its present monitoring agreement.
"We have to be clear that the World Bank and the IDB will lend money on the basis of a letter of approval that would come from the IMF after some commitment from the government, some type of agreement. We have a monitoring agreement in place, but greater involvement is required," he said. He said the President will decide when to start these discussions with the IMF.
A good portion of the funds would be allotted to meet the country's increasing electricity financial deficit.

Ede-Este purchase is a "great deal"
The vice president of the Dominican Corporation of State-run Electricity Enterprises (CDEEE), Radhames Segura, said yesterday that the deal that they made with the power distributor Ede-Este was not for the purchase of the shares, but rather a transfer of the type known as "avoided costs".
He explained that if they would have had to pay lawyers US$60 million and if they can make a deal for less than half of that in order to get out of litigation, and at the same time they [Ede-Este] hand over the shares and the administration, "it is a great deal". He explained the company would voluntarily hand over the shares, without the government having to pay a cent for them.
Segura reported that the final deal closing of the operation will be on 30 June at the latest. The US holding company, Trust Company of the West (TCW), would withdraw the lawsuits against the Dominican government. Segura said that as of today, they have spent US$17.8 million on just one lawsuit. The total amount paid as of today is US$15.8 million for arbitrage and slightly more than US$2.0 million is owed. Trust Company of the West (TCW), which initially partnered with the government wanted out of its contractual obligations because they felt the energy business in the DR was not financially viable.
Segura said the criticisms from the business community regarding the government's takeover of the third power distribution company were unfair. In his opinion, business community should have supported the government since he says the TCW lawsuits are an insult against national interests. He insisted that the government supports free enterprise, but only if it is a transparent business and the actions of TCW "are totally reproachable for the public sector and should be so for the private sector."
Segura mentioned that the 6.4% electricity tariff increase in place as of June will produce US$25 million in seven months.

Social Security has RD$100 billion
Collections at the Social Security Treasury reached RD$100 billion, as revealed yesterday by the treasurer, Henry Sadhala, who said that this is a very significant amount when taking into account the system began in 2003. RD$1.8 billion was collected in the first year from employees and employers.
2009 collections are expected to be between RD$37 and RD$40 billion.
Sadhala attributed the level of contributions to the computerized system in place that is easy to use and the trust placed in the system, due to the transparency and efficiency of the Treasury.
As of 20 March, the TSS had 1,193,000 persons enrolled, of which 1,040,000 are paying the Family Health Insurance. The dependants in this insurance total more than 1,800,000, protected by the payments of the 1,040,000 persons who contribute to the system. Businesses, active and enrolled, with registered payrolls at the Treasury, as of 31 March, number 43,651 employers, and this number goes up each month.
It is expected that the amnesty bill, which is pending in the Senate, will add between 150,000 and 200,000 new contributors, including the municipal governments.

New Superintendent of Stocks
President Leonel Fernandez appointed Guarocuya Felix Paniagua new Superintendent of Stocks. He replaces Haivanjoe Ng Cortina, who is the new Superintendent of Banks. Ng Cortina in turn replaced Rafael Camilo, who is the new director of the Department of Customs. His appointment is in Decree 416-09 dated 30 May.

Checking for the flu
All the media exposure the AH1N1 virus has generated has Dominicans flocking to doctors and hospitals for any kind of cold symptoms. Hoy reports that an unusual number of patients are consulting with physicians concerned over being affected by the new virus. Pediatricians and neumologists told Hoy that all the media exposure has lead to a sort of collective hysteria regarding AH1N1. In the DR, cases of the new virus have been mild.
There have been 12 cases detected in the DR, including six related to one private school.
Pediatrician Salvador Martinez Selmo told Hoy: "Yes, there has been a surprising increase in patient visits, all related to the flu, the change in the weather [with the arrival of summer] and the seasonal colds and a generalized concern over the new virus."
Physicians say the AH1N1 flu has been taken out of proportion. All the media exposure on the new virus, neglects reporting that seasonal flu is the 8th cause of death in the US, with 36,000 deaths reported last year alone. The AH1N1 virus has so far been held responsible for slightly over 115 deaths.
The majority of the persons affected with the virus of the AH1N1 influenza in the DR are students under 15 years old, according to an official report from the Ministry of Public Health.
The Ministry says that up until now all of the confirmed cases with the new virus are somehow tied to an outbreak that affected students of Carol Morgan School, two persons that traveled outside the country, one that was in a hotel in the East of the country and in the other cases the exposure was not identified.
On the world level, the numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) are saying that they have been notified of 17,410 cases of infection in 62 countries, with 115 deaths. Of these, Mexico has 5,029 confirmed cases and 97 deaths.

Prevention should get priority
Marc Van Wynsberghe, in charge of disaster prevention at the United Nations Development Program in Santo Domingo, called for the drawing up of a National Risk Management Plan. He also said the municipalities need to assume their role in preventing disasters. Wynsberghe said the country rather has a plan for after a disaster.
"We need a plan to avoid those emergencies," he said during a conference at Funglode on disaster prevention.
He said that one of the main weaknesses in the DR is that the authorities have allowed new human settlements in areas that are known to be vulnerable to flooding. He said that once disaster hits the occupants are forced to abandon their homes, but then the government assists them in repairing these so they can return.
Van Wynsberghe feels the authorities should instead ensure that construction no longer be allowed in areas adjacent to rivers, streams or gullies, as well as in steep inclines in cities and countryside.
He stressed that with climate change there will be more storms and thus more flooding. Also participating in the Funglode conference were Gloria Ceballos, director of the National Metereological Office, General Juan Manuel Mendez, of the Center for Emergency Operations (COE), and Major General Luis Luna Paulino, director of Civil Defense.

Santiago has 40 high risk zones
National relief organizations are once again on alert with the start of the hurricane season. The hurricane season began 1 June and ends on 30 November.
The organizations say that residents in vulnerable zones continue to be at the risk of major storms.
Civil Defense and the other institutions say they are prepared to assist the communities in the case of disaster.
According to El Caribe, Francisco Arias, the head of Civil Defense in Santiago, said that the organization now has more than 2,000 volunteers and rescue teams. The province of Santiago has about 40 areas of high risk, and some 16,000 persons living in the high risk zones, that are vulnerable to flooding and landslides.
The ecologists say the situation has worsened due to increasing deforestation of river banks. The Ecological Society of the Cibao (Soeci), together with the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, have tackled the problems with efforts to re-plant the banks of the Yaque River that were destroyed by the floods causes by tropical storm Olga in December 2007.
Soeci and Civil Defense, nevertheless, complain of the little interest shown by the authorities whose duty it is to impede that high risk areas are populated. The vulnerable areas are occupied by newcomers that flock from rural areas to the city and start shanty towns in places where that are no public services at all.
Several high risk zones mentioned are the Hoyo de Bartolo, the Hoyo de Julia, the Hoyo de Puchola, Las Cayernas, part of Rafey, Bella Vista, the barrios located down stream of the Gurabo, Pontezuela and Nibaje creeks, as well as the communities located in those areas subject to landslides, such as La Cumbre de Juan Veras.

Riots caused by crowding
The director general of prisons, Major General Manuel de Jesus Perez Sanchez attributed yesterday the recent series of bloody incidents in the nation's prisons to the overcrowded conditions in which the inmates are forced to live as well as the heat wave that is currently affecting the nation. The official said that during the summer the occurrence of riots is more frequent.
Perez Sanchez said that there have not been riots in jails where the new prison model is in place. In the summer the fights in jails increase especially when the temperature reaches 30 and 35 degrees Celsius. In an overcrowded cell, temperatures can go as high as 40 degrees, he explained.
He said that in these conditions, the inmates fight over anything, such as the incident in El Seibo where the fight was caused by a discussion over RD$200 pesos between two prisoners.
He said the fight in the Moca jail was the result of six inmates taking five fellow prisoners as hostages as a way to pressure for their transfer to the Kilometer 15 Prison in Azua where last Friday two inmates accused of dealing drugs were sent.
The general said that the situation was being tackled along three fronts: new jails, better training of prison personnel and working in the area of internal processes.

Supreme Court on contract killings
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the conference and workshop "French Law 2009" at the Magistrate's School, Supreme Court chief justice Jorge Subero Isa said contract murders are on the rise in the Dominican Republic. He said that this reality is sending a bad signal. However, he applauded the bravery and dedication of the magistrates, who act with bravery and responsibility in the cases of drug trafficking cases, many linked to contract killings. He mentioned the lack of budget to provide for the security for the judges.
Speaking at the same conference, the Prosecutor for the National District, Alejandro Moscoso Segarra, agreed with the chief justice and he said that the killings by hired assassins have come with the increase in drug trafficking. "Drug traffickers, when they drop drugs also drop weapons, and this is part of the pay for killing someone," he explained.
Meanwhile, Subero Isa said that, in one way or another, these contracted murders that never existed in the country before are a matter of major concern.

Fashion Week is on
Fashion Week is set for the convention hall at the Port of Sans Souci, 3-6 June 2009 on the east bank of Ozama River. Organized by Tita Hasbun, Jorge Diep and Alex Macia, the event is bringing global fashion to city shores. For three days, there will be fashion shows and a fashion mall open to brands and international franchises selling clothes at discounted prices. Top models Teresa Wajdowics, Jeimy Hernandez, Yilda Santana, Rosa Gouch and Omahira Mota are booked to participate. The DR Fashion Week will also honor top model Arlenis Sosa.
http://www.rd-fw.com/
For more on upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
 
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