The Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Pável Isa Contreras, affirmed that the present government has placed public investment in favor of social welfare.
Isa Contreras explained that social spending has remained stable in the present government as well. He pointed out that close to half of the public spending goes to social services, which includes pre-university education with 4%. He explained that around 8 % of GDP is being spent on social services.
“At a macro level the figures have not changed much; I think what has changed is public investment in favor of social welfare,” Isa Contreras emphasized, interviewed on a television program.
In this sense, the economist and researcher pointed out that in terms of public investment, the housing sector as well as potable water and sanitation have increased considerably in the national budget.
He argued that housing, drinking water and sanitation have a direct impact on people’s quality of life and on non-monetary poverty indicators.
“They are the two items that have increased the most; it does not mean that most of the budget is going to those items, because road infrastructure is very expensive compared to housing construction,” added the Minister of Economy.
He highlighted the Government’s emphasis on housing, potable water and sanitation, where the results can be seen.
The Minister emphasized that with a lower economic growth than what the country is used to, in 2023, significant social results are being achieved, as if the country were growing at around 5% and 6%.
He projected that in 2023 “we will be reducing poverty by 4 percentage points”, that is, in the order of 23%, when last year the total number of households in monetary poverty was 27%. He explained that the increase in income has been concentrated in the poorest households.
He highlighted the economic recovery, the support with monetary transfers and remittances, and said that “all this has combined to make the income of the poorest households grow the most in this context and that is why we have such positive poverty results”.
He insisted that in a context in which economic growth has been lower “we are achieving more social results with less economic growth”.
Decent and reasonably good growth
Minister Isa Conteras reiterated the projection of closing 2023 with growth of around 2.5%. He pointed out that this is a decent growth, reasonably good, given the context in which we are living and the result of the anti-inflationary policy in its monetary dimension.
“I believe that the main success of this year has been to defeat inflation”, said Isa Contreras, while explaining that the anti-inflationary policy was successful and had two components: monetary policy and the social protection shield, through subsidies to reduce the vulnerability of households to price shocks.
He stated that at the end of this year the economy is showing clear signs of recovery in part because of the monetary stimulus. “We closed the year with inflation defeated and growth picking up and poverty levels falling,” he said.
He said that with respect to 2022, and considering the circumstances that happened in 2023, “I think the year closes on good terms and laying the groundwork for a better 2024 than 2023 was.”