JANUARY 2009

Over 140,000 Dominicans came home for the holidays

Some airlines serving the DR had to put on extra flights

BREAKING NEWS :  A total of 141,510 Dominicans who live overseas visited the country during the month of December. The total is 8,000 down compared to last year’s figures, when ab

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out 192,800 Dominicans visited their home country.

This reduction of visitors from the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe is attributed to the current global economic crisis.

Most of the visiting Dominicans came from the US, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Venezuela, Panama, Curacao, St Martin and Guadalupe.

Although some airlines serving the DR had to put on some extra flights, this was not on the same scale as in 2006 or 2007, according to information provided by the country’s airports. As usual, American Airlines provided the largest number of flights, followed by Jet Blue, Copa, Spirit and Continental.

Passenger complaints were down compared to previous years, registering fewer losses, damage to luggage and delays in receiving their luggage, thanks to a series of measures introduced by the airlines and airport management authorities.

There was also a reduction in robberies as a result of new security and supervision measures implemented by AMET, the National Police and the Tourism Police in the car parking areas and on the Las Americas Highway.

Dominican Today, 05.01.09

Dominican Central Bank lowers overnight rate to 8.5%

Inflation of only 4.52%

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BREAKING NEWS :  The Central Bank announced lower overnight interest rates from 9.5% to 8.5% annually, or 1 percentage point, and the Lombarda interest rate from 16% to 14% annually, or 2 percentage points, which signals an eased monetary policy to continue in February, as the monetary authorities recently announced.

The decisions with respect to changes in interest rates are conditional to the behavior of the main causes of inflation, which closed in December 2008 at 4.52%, below the goal established in the 2008 Monetary Program, the Central Bank said on its Web site.

Inflation of only 4.52%, possibly Latin America’s lowest, means Dominicans will have received positive a real return from their savings in 2008.

Interest rates reduction is consistent with the current behavior of oil prices and the internal demand, jointly with a position of greater fiscal prudence, reflected in the recently approved 2009 Income and Budget Law, the Central Bank said.

It adds that the Overnight rate is the one that represents the yield for the financial institutions that deposit their surplus in the Central Bank, reflecting the cost of money for the monetary institution, whereas the Lombarda rate is the maximum interest rate on short term loans to the financial institutions.

Dominican Today, 06.01.08

Back to school

For 2.5 million schoolchildren

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BREAKING NEWS :  Some schools opened today, but most of the country’s 2.5 million schoolchildren will return to classes tomorrow.

Education Minister Melanio Paredes announced the return to classes, but attendance is expected to be low because of the mid-week reopening.

DR1, 07.01.09

Dominican government expects US $2.4B in foreign investment 2009

Construction of the first stage of the 5,000 houses will begin in the next few days

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BREAKING NEWS :  The government expects around US $2.4 billion in foreign investments this year, announced several officials in the National Palace last night. They include housing, with participation of entrepreneurs form Spain, United States and the country, according to the officials.

Construction on some of those housing projects is set to begin in the next few days, they said.

Tourism, free zones, mining, agribusiness, biofuels, renewable energy are among the proposed projects, standing out the construction 5,000 houses for people of low income.

The officials said the houses are the first of 100,000 that Spanish, American and Dominican companies plan to build in a period of five years, to meet the existing deficit.

The details on the foreign investments, including the construction of greenhouses, were provided in a press conference in the National Palace, by the director of Presidency’s Press Rafael Núñez; Dominican Republic Export and Investment Center (CEI-RD), Eddy Martinez; National Competitiveness Council, Andres Vanderhorst, and of Free Zones, Luisa Fernandez.

Martinez said construction of the first stage of the 5,000 houses will begin in the next few days, by the Spanish and United States developer H2, with real estate experience in the Dominican capital.

He said other projects that will generate jobs include hotels, energy, as well as US $50 million in greenhouses, to be built in different agricultural of areas the country.

The CEI-RD chief said direct foreign investment will surpass US $2.4 billion this year, with the economic perspective of sustained growth in the tourism industry and in revamped free zones.

The government officials said investment reached US $2.0 billion last year, or US $1.0 billion more that in 2007.

Dominican Today, 08.01.09

The IMF will take note this Monday of the follow-up agreement with the Dominican Republic

To support the economic and financial programs

BREAKING NEWS: WASHINGTON. – The policy charter of the Dominican Government for a follow-up agreement will be known this Monday by the Management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), almost one year after the conclusion of the Stand-by program with this multilateral organization.

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According to the data of the IMF, the financial resources of this entity were availabe for the Dominican Republic on seven occasions through a Stand-by agreement, ascending until today to an approved total of 1,061.39 million of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

This approved amount of SDRs for the Dominican Republic is taken into account since its integration into the IMF, on December 28, 1945, as a one of the 35 founder countries.

On December 28, 2009, it will make 64 years that the Dominican Republic is linked with the IMF.

The SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, is an international instrument of reserve created by the IMF in 1969, to face the concern of the Member States which were afraid that the existing total and the planned growth of the international reserves are not enough to achieve the goals of the expansion to the world commerce.

This resource is used by the IMF in order to support the economic and financial programs of the countries through the Stand-by agreement.

However, according to experts on the matter, the follow-up agreement post Stand-by program which would be established today between the Dominican Republic and the IMF does not involve disbursements of resources.

In the policies charter which will be known this Monday, and which was presented to President Leonel Fernández on January 7, 2009 by the economic team of the Government, and signed by the Secretary of Economy, Temístocles Montás, by the Secretary of Finance, Vicente Bengoa, as well as by the Governor of the Central Bank, Héctor Valdez Albizu, the maintenance of the economic macro stability is proposed, and this in spite of the turbulences caused by the international economic crisis.

It is also indicated that the Dominican financial system showed a remarkable flexibility.

Dominican Republic Live, 12.01.09

The IMF approves the Policies Charter

For the Monitoring Agreement with the Dominican Republic

BREAKING NEWS: WASHINGTON. – The Charter of Policies sent by the Government of the Dominican Republic for an agreement of post stand-by program management was completely approved yesterday the Management of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The Dominican representative of the IMF, Julio Estrella, informed this Monday that this international agency will emit an official statement on the approval of this charter at the latest on Wednesday January 14.

On last January 7, the Government sent to the IMF the Charter Policies, signed by the secretary of Finances, Vicente Bengoa, the secretary of Economy, Temístocles Montas and the governor of the Central Bank, Héctor Valdez Albizu, in which was reiterated the commitment with the macro-economic stability and the structural reforms which guarantee a sustainable growth of the economy, the increase of the employment and especially the reduction of the poverty and the inequality.

Dominican Republic Live, 13.01.09

Forestation of the whole country

70 million pesos will be invested

BREAKING NEWS: A total of 12 million plants and seeds of various species will be acquired by the Dominican government trough the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARENA) in order to use them in the realization of the Quisqueya Verde Plan.

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The plants and the seeds, for which approximately 70 million pesos will be invested, will be sown over all the national territory.

The acquisition of the plants and seeds, natives and endemic, will be carried out by contract with 12 private companies of the sector.

The organization planned to plant this year approximately 20 million trees of various species among which the caya amarilla, the mahogany tree, the grigri, the royal palm tree and the black mangrove.

Among the organizations belonging to the agreement there are the National University Pedro Enríquez Ureña (UNPHU), the Botanical Garden, the nursery Los Arbolitos, the ISA University and the Federation of Campesinos Hacia el Progreso, among others, according to the information revealed by the civil servant.

Dominican Republic Live, 14.01.09

Law calling for a National Assembly is passed

The proposal was approved by a vote of 22 to 5

BREAKING NEWS: The Senate approved after just one reading, the legislative proposal that states the need to reform the Constitution and convene a National Assembly to carry out such a reform process.

The proposal was approved by a vote of 22 to 5. The five may votes were from members of the PRD . The spokesperson for the PRD bloc, Roberto Rodriguez, requested that the discussion of the initiative be postponed in order to deal with the summit meeting, but his motion was not taken into consideration.

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The legislative proposal was not declared to be « urgent » because this would have required a fote of two thirds of the senators and there were three PLD senators out of the country which would have impossibilitated such a move.

The full Senate accepted the report presented by the joint commission that studiend the legislation that was sent by the Executive Branch last 18 September.

The proposal that was approved can be summed up, according to the report, in the institutional strengthening, the correction of international treaties, the rule of law, the compliance to the law, transparency, the system of weights and balances and the incorporation of new judicial figures.

The report affirms that it will be an instrument for the integrated development of the nation, the society, the family and the individual.

The president of the Senate and of the joint commission that studied the project, Reinaldo Pared Perez, made it clear that the proposal is looking to reaffirm the basic constitutional rights of the nation and has been the object of a reflexive, inclusive, participatory study and that the modifications suggested not only in the content as in the form have preserved the intention and spirit of the constituent power that is proposing the reform, which is to say the Executive Branch.

Diario Libre, 15.01.09

The Queen of Spain arrives in Dominican Republic

To support aid

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BREAKING NEWS: The Queen of Spain arrived in Santo Domingo Sunday, the first stop of a trip to Dominican Republic and Haiti, to support Spanish cooperation for these countries’ most depressed zones.

Doña Sofia, who travels together with Spain’s International Cooperation minister Soraya Rodriguez, was received in the airport by ambassador Diego Bermejo, who will accompany her during her stay in the island discovered by Cristóbal Columbus December 5, 1492, which he named La Española (Hispaniola).

Dominican Today, 18.01.09

A pool of banks is part of the investors of the Aerodom Group

They acquired actions for 400 million dollars

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BREAKING NEWS: The managing director of the consortium Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo 21 (Aerodom) revealed yesterday that a pool of Dominican banks belonged to the investors who acquired the actions of the company for 400 million dollars.

Rodolfo Salgado Leyva said that the negotiations of the purchase of hundred percent of the actions which correspond to the group directed by Abraham Hazoury, had been carried out through the Advent International Company.

He explained that, in addition to the pool of Dominican banks, there were also American, Canadian and Mexican company managers with him as a managing director.

Salgado Leyva, which is also captain, mentioned that among the banks which bought actions there are the Popular Dominicano, BHD, León and Scotiabank.

The group will manage the airports of Las Américas, Gregorio Luperón, Puerto Plata; El Catey, and Arroyo Barril, Samaná, Isabela, and María Montés, of Barahona.

He explained that although the acquisition was made by Advent International, it was definitely Dominican, with a mixed capital integrated by Americans, Canadians, Brazilians and Mexicans and by more than thousand employees of the country.

Dominican Republic Live, 21.01.09

The IMF is satisfied with the macro-economic policy of the Dominican Republic

To rebalance the fiscal and monetary policies

BREAKING NEWS: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is satisfied with the framework of the macro-economic policy worked out by the authorities of Dominican Republic for 2009, informed this Thursday an official statement of the institution.

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Within the framework of the regular consultations with the country, the IMF is satisfied the framework of macro-economic policy worked out by the authorities for year 2009, has the aim of re balancing the treasury and monetary position of the Dominican Republic to avoid abrupt deterioration in the exterior environment indicate the official statement.

The careful tax consolidation planned for 2009 would contribute to reduce the pressure on the external accounts and would create a margin for a monetary flexibility it added.

Because of the uncertainty which surrounds the international financial position, the directors recommended to maintain a strict monitoring of the supervision and to strengthen the control tools and the preparation frameworks to face a potential crisis the text adds.

Since the financial crisis of 2003-04, the banks’ exposure to the credit lines from the outside are very limited, and careful indicators reveal margins of liquidity and capital which will allow the banks to support moderated tensions explains the text.

The IMF concluded a « stand by » program with the Dominican Republic one year ago, and the reports of this type belong to the usual monitoring.

Dominican Republic Live, 22.01.09

President Fernández informs that the Dominican banks received foreign deposits

We are in a process of transformation

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernández informed that the Dominican banks had received deposits in dollars from outside, this because in the United St

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ates, the interest rate is at 5% and that in the country, it is at 4%, which means a great advance for the Dominican Republic.

The leader explained that this situation represented a capital which moved within the country for the benefit of the local bank, after having underlined that in the middle and long term, one was building a world which for the moment is not perceptible.

We are in a transformation process he announced.

He stressed the fact that from the country, one sought the manner of being able to be connected with this world, but he recognized that one needed before universities and knowledge in order to be able the transform it in marketable product.

The Chief of State talked in these terms whereas he attended the conference « Challenges and Opportunities for Science and Innovation »; organized by FUNGLODE by the professor of the Harvard University, Calestous Juma, who underlined the importance of the universities to develop technologies.

Dominican Republic Live, 26.01.09

Summit begins today amid hope and fear

Opening session of the dialogue

BREAKING NEWS: The principle groups of economic and political power will get together today and form work groups at the « summit of national unity » , although the government has not complied with the guarantees that were demanded.

The National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) and the Dominican Confederation of Management (Copardom) confirmed that they would send their top executives to the opening session of the dialogue to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Santo Domingo.

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Moreover, the PLD, PRSC, PRSD, PNVC political parties and the PLD allies will participate in the search for solutions to the nation’s problems and a national development strategy.

The business associations had emphasized the scant credibility the government carried with them and in the eyes of society, due to the antecedents of agreements and laws that are not fulfilled or followed; nonetheless, they will participate in this new discussion with the hope that this time, things will be different.

The president of Copardom, Maribel Gasso, said yesterday that the decision to give the Executive Branch a chance with the conviction that today the opportunity will avail itself of putting the issues that the business community feels are transcendental for the country on the agenda and see just how much we are in line with the other sectors, both public and private.

The list of participants does not include the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), which has yet to decide on its participation.

The Unity and Change Independence Movement (MIUCA), the Alternative Social Forum and the Independent Revolutionary Party (PRI) will not be attending.

According to Trajano Santana, the PRI president, We have said that this summit thing is a waste of time, because the President has not fulfilled the fundamental aspects of the previous meetings that have been held.

Trajano said that the former administration of Fernandez called for a popular consultation on the constitutional reform issues, and nevertheless, he did not accept the recommendations that were made on fundamental aspects.

The Juan Montalvo Center for Social Studies will not send a representative to the inauguration of the « summit for national unity in the face of a world crisis » because as it sees things, the forecast is that it will be a failure, said the center’s director, Mario Serrano Marte. He added, We feel excluded from this dialogue.

Serrano Marte said that the President has given all of the « Anti-signals » that he might comply with what is agreed upon, but the Montalvo Center expects is that even today some measure could be announced that would raise hopes of more confidence in the proceedings.

The objectives as stated by President Fernandez through the organizing commission begin with the adoption of a set of short term measures in an action plan for 2009 that permits the lessening of the negative impact that the world economic crisis might have on the Dominican economic and social sectors.

In the second phase, which will go from the end of February until the middle of May, they will deal with agreement on a work program that will permit reaching a great national impact among the political, social and economic actors that will shape in a national strategy of development the national priorities and development objectives for the next 20 years.

Diario Libre, 28.01.09

New DR tourism campaign

With a new slogan

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BREAKING NEWS: The Dominican government has launched its new tourism promotion campaign: The Dominican Republic: It Has Everything at the leading Spanish travel trade fair, Fitur.

The campaign aims to make tourists aware that the DR is a complete destination with more than just beaches and sunshine, also offering adventure, ecotourism and culture. The effects of the global financial crisis are being felt at the 29th International Tourism Fair.

News reports indicate that exhibitors have booked 13% less space and there is an 18% drop in participating businesses. Of 13,530 participants last year, there are 2,400 fewer this year.

The DR is taking part with a 250 square meter stand decorated in tropical colors. Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia announced that the inexhaustible campaign used over the past four years was exhausted

He said that the bold new international advertising campaign seeks to let the world know that the only thing missing from the Dominican Republic is snow.

DR1, 30.01.09

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