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    Default DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 11 August 2016

    Government’s purchasing policy approved by Mipymes
    New ministry will create first “czar”
    Once again anguish over school supplies
    Paying with smartphone now possible in DR
    Conep launches investment guide
    A fire in the refinery
    The continuing Tucano saga
    Court of Appeals imposes RD$1 million fine on Marcos Martinez
    Jacinto Ayala still holds 100m free record
    Dominicans in the Olympics
    Onamet forecasts showers
    India film festival

    Government’s purchasing policy approved by Mipymes
    The Directorate General of Public Contracts has presented a report on the impact of the government’s purchasing policy that focuses on micro, small and medium-scale businesses (known as Mipymes) in the Dominican Republic.

    Over 70% of the companies surveyed said that the government policy had a positive effect because it was open to all small manufacturers.

    The report adds that a broad majority of the companies said that political contacts were not necessary in order to become a government supplier.

    According to Diario Libre, the research presented by economist Jaime Aristy Escuder, a consultant for the government agency, covered 408 Mipymes in the National District and the province of Santo Domingo.

    The report says that there are 18,337 small and medium companies (Pymes) and 772,889 micro companies in the Dominican Republic, which brings the total number of Mipymes to 791,237. These companies employ nearly 50% of the economically active population, a total of 2,166,000 who also represent 54% of total national workforce.

    Aristy Escuder pointed out that while the micro companies comprise 98% of the total, the Pymes actually employ most workers as they contributed 24%, averaging nearly 29 employees per company.

    New ministry will create first “czar”
    Government officials could be at loggerheads on the issue of the concentration of power that the proposed Ministry of Energy, Mines and Hydrocarbons could create. The bill will be submitted to the National Congress for the opening of the legislature on 16 August 2016. The bill proposes changing 14 laws, revoking at least two presidential decrees, eliminating the National Energy Commission and reducing the functions of the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE).

    According to El Nacional, some officials fear that the creation of this “super” ministry will lead to the elimination of the subsidies within the electricity industry and higher electricity bills for 95% of customers. The legislative proposal also reduces some of the functions of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce because it would absorb the Directorate General of Mining and take over all aspects of public policy on hydrocarbons and fuels.

    Another fear expressed by some officials is that once this new ministry is created there will be a drastic reduction in personnel in the state agencies that will be eliminated or have their functions reduced. Supporters of the proposal based their legislation on 17 “principles”, which include transparency, duplication of functions, hierarchy, competition, rationality, clear accounting, fiscal responsibility, participation in public policy, administrative efficiency, legality, and planning and performance evaluation, all of which are clear allusions to the functioning of the institutions and agencies to be absorbed.

    Once again anguish over school supplies
    Every year at this time the newspapers in the Dominican Republic report on the ordeal faced by parents who struggle to provide their children with the books and supplies needed to begin the school year. The school year officially opens in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, 22 August 2016.

    In Santiago, this year, Diario Libre interviewed several parents who all complained of a 15 to 20% increase in the cost of schoolbooks for private school students. The parents also complained, of course, of the increasing tuition costs.

    To further complicate the issue, according to many parents, there were major changes in textbooks, meaning that older siblings cannot pass on last year’s textbooks for reuse this year.

    Several bookstore owners told reporters that the textbook publishers have raised their prices by 15 to 20%.

    Local Ministry of Education authorities told reporters they had nothing to do with the pricing of private education or the textbooks, and that the parentsí associations should be dealing with these issues.

    The ministry official informed that nearly 250,000 students would be attending school in Santiago province this school year, which starts Monday, 22 August 2016.

    Paying with smartphone now possible in DR
    Grupo Popular is the first bank to implement Near-field communication (NFC) technology in the Dominican Republic. NFC enables smartphones to be used for making payments.

    The technology consists of a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within about 4 cm (2 in) of each other.

    Conep launches investment guide
    The National Business Council (Conep) launched an investment guide – Conexo Trade & Investment Edition – providing relevant information for future investors. Conexo Trade & Investment Edition was produced with an eye on business and deals with the issues that are most important and necessary for an investor upon arrival in a foreign country, by providing practical and functional information.

    Conep says the guide was designed to be easy to use and backed with up-to-date statistics that set out the advantages and benefits in each area of the Dominican economy to a future investor.

    Conep president Rafael Blanco said that the guide is in answer to the important question “Why should I invest in the Dominican Republic?” He added that inflation is down, currency devaluation is controlled, there are attractive conditions for foreign investment with judicial security, along with preferential trade agreements and logistical capacity, all of which represent just a few of the features that the Dominican Republic offers to future investors. The investment guide is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, a strategic ally for its distribution.

    A fire in the refinery
    In the afternoon of Wednesday 10 August 2016, a fire broke out at the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa) located in the Haina Industrial Area west of Santo Domingo. The fire was put out promptly, as reported. As most of the national newspapers went to press, the exact cause and scale of the fire were unknown.

    The blaze had led to the evacuation of all employees and the Haina Fire Brigade managed to bring the flames under control by 5pm. People living close to the refinery also began to evacuate the area.

    Refidomsa PDV is the only oil refinery in the Dominican Republic as well as the terminal for receiving petroleum products from the country’s suppliers, mostly Venezuela and Mexico. The joint venture is currently owned by the Dominican State (51%) and PDV Caribe (49%). PDV Caribe is a branch of the Venezuelan national oil company.

    The continuing Tucano saga
    According to newspaper reports on Wednesday, 10 August 2016, a former Defense Minister and an active duty colonel were arrested together with two men linked to the company that managed the 2009 purchase of the Super Tucano aircraft for the Dominican Air Force. They were detained for questioning in connection with the aircraft purchase, which has long been regarded as controversial.

    Retired Major General Pedro Rafael Pena Antonio and active Air Force Colonel Carlos Picini were arrested on warrants issued by the coordinating judge of instruction for the National District, Jose Alejandro Vargas, at the request of the Specialized Prosecutor for the Pursuit of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA). Two businessmen, Daniel Aquino Hernandez and his son Daniel Aquino Mendes were also arrested as part of the investigation.

    According to El Nacional, several legislators are also implicated in the purchase of these aircraft from the Brazilian company Embraer SA. There have long been rumors of very large bribes involved in the purchase of the Super Tucanos during the Leonel Fernandez presidency.

    The Tucanos were purchased with a US$92 million loan made by the Brazilian export bank, BNDES. Consultant to the aviation company, Elio Moti Sonnenfele would admit to the Brazilian investigators that he delivered to Dominican officers US$3.4 million to influence the purchase decision.

    The DR government was acting on documentation received from Brazil, where a major investigation into its own government corruption is underway. The investigation is ongoing since 2013 in Brazil.

    Court of Appeals imposes RD$1 million fine on Marcos Martinez
    The Santiago Criminal Court of Appeals has ordered lawyer and TV journalist Marcos Martinez to pay RD$1 million in compensation to Vice President Margarita Cedeno. The judges rejected the prosecution’s request for a retrial. The Vice President had appealed the sentence issued on 13 July 2016, which declared Martinez not guilty.

    Martinez was accused of document forgery after he accused then-Vice Presidential candidate Margarita Cedeno of having a bank account in a Danish bank with EUR 43 million in savings.

    Onamet forecasts showers
    The National Meteorological Office (Onamet) forecasts more scattered showers during Thursday 11 August 2016 caused by a low-pressure trough moving from the southeast and a tropical wave passing over the country.

    The rain showers with thunder and lightning will affect the provinces of La Altagracia (Higuey), La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, Monte Plata, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa, Sanchez Ramirez (Cotui), La Vega, Monsenor Nouel (Bonao), Santiago, San Juan de la Maguana, Dajabon, Elias Pina, and Greater Santo Domingo.

    During Thursday, the low-pressure trough will move across the country as the tropical wave continues westwards. This will cause humidity and rain showers throughout most of the country.

    Temperatures will remain high and Onamet is advising people to drink plenty of liquids and wear light clothing while avoiding the sun, especially between 11am and 4pm.

    Jacinto Ayala still holds 100m free record
    Dominican 18-year old Jhonny Perez did 51.50 in his first heat in the Rio Olympics and this was reported in the media as a national record for the 100 freestyle. Diario Libre clarifies today that Jacinto Ayala has the record with 49.38. That record was set on 29 July 2009 at the World Swimming Games in Rome, Italy.

    The error is attributed to Arturo Ramirez, president of the National District Swimming Association. Both Jacinto Ayala and Jhonny Perez were members of the Delfines del Naco swim club of the Club Deportivo Naco.

    See Perez’s swim in Rio de Janeiro here:

    Dominicans in the Olympics
    On Wednesday, 10 August 2016, Yvonne Losos placed 29 of 29 who competed the event and scored 61.300 points but these were not enough for her to move to the second round of competitions. It was the first time Dominican Republic competed in the equestrian dressage individual event in the Olympics.

    Judges gave the bout of bantam boxer Hector Luis Garcia in the 56 kg division lost to Dimitri Asanau 2-1.
    Yessica Camilo in archery was not able to advance in her competition. She ranked 64 of 64 in women’s individual with a score of 525.

    There are no competitions for Dominicans on the 11 August Rio de Janeiro Olympics Games schedule.

    Next competitions for Dominicans in the Games:
    12 August:
    Athletics. Luguelin Santos (400 meters)
    Swimming Dorian McMenemy (50 m freestyle)
    13 August:
    Athletics. Yancarlos Martinez
    13 August:
    Boxing. Leonel de los Santos (52kg)
    14 August:
    Boxing. Hector Luis Garcia (56 kg)
    Athletics. Ana Tima (triple jump)
    15 August:
    Athletics. Mariely Sanchez (200 meters)
    Athletics. Jaunder Santos (400 meters hurdles)
    16 August:
    Athletics. Stanly del Carmen (200 meters)
    Athletics. Yancarlos Martinez.
    17 August:
    Taekwondo. Luisito Pie (58 kg)
    18 August:
    Track and field. 4 x 100.
    19 August:
    Katherine Rodriguez (67kg)
    Judo: Moises Hernandez (80 kg)
    Track and field 4 x 400.
    Athletics. Mayobanex D’Oleo (Men’s 4 x 100 relay)
    Shooting: Eduardo Jose Lorenzo (Shooting Trap Men)
    Athletics: Luis Enrique Charles (Men’s 4 x 400 relay)

    India film festival
    The General Films Office (DGCine) and the Embassy of India are presenting “Essences of India,” from Thursday 11 to Tuesday 23 August 2016. A selection of the best Indian films of the past 16 years will be screened, including drama, comedy and romance.
    The festival opens with the romantic film “The Namesake” by director Mira Nair.

    It is the story of US-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, who wants to fit in with his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family’s unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways. 7:30pm. Cinemateca Dominicana located next to the Museum of Modern Art.

    Read more about upcoming events at

    To read more news, see and the DR1 News Archives at:
    Last edited by Dolores; 08-11-2016 at 09:04 AM.


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