“The eyes of the world are on the country to invest”

When one speaks of fuels in the Dominican Republic, the search engine automatically drags the name of Victor-Ito Bisonó, current Minister of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes.

Applauded by some, criticized by others, the truth is that he has become one of the most popular officials of the governmental train led by President Luis Abinader.

Although he is aware of the importance of the hydrocarbons market and its impact on the economy, he points out that the ministry is much more than that.

In the special interview elCaribe-CDN, the official offered exact amounts of the costs assumed by the Government to avoid further increases in the prices of hydrocarbons and highlighted the growth of foreign investment, free zones and exports at a general level.

“When you add construction, free trade zones, services such as call center, cinema, software, fashion, all these are services. When you look for MSMEs, manufacturing, all of that is industry and commerce,” he says. He assures that there are very clear signs that the eyes of the world are on this nation to invest.

He maintains that the Dominican Republic is probably the country that receives the most foreign investment in the region.

He attributes this to the social, economic and political stability, added to the good management of covid-19. It is precisely this combination of factors that he believes has put this Caribbean country in the “radal of the world”.

Why is that? he asks. Then he says that there is a lot of liquidity. He adds that the crisis, generated by the pandemic, has caused the markets to rise in the international stock exchanges, in addition to the fact that many companies have registered important profits and are looking for a place to invest. He supports such growth in the statistics of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic and the favorable projections of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for the national territory. Among the economic activities that led the performance in terms of value added in the January-September period on Dominican soil were: hotels, bars and restaurants (31.8%); construction (30.0%); free zone manufacturing (24.2%); transportation and storage (13.7%); local manufacturing (11.5%); commerce (11.5%); trade (11.1%) and mining and quarrying (6.9%).

The Dominican Republic is recognized as a highly resilient country, as opposed to other nations that have seen their productive apparatus come to a halt and whose recovery is slow.

“In the Dominican Republic the sectors grew even during the pandemic. When we arrived there were 130 thousand jobs, today we have 180 thousand direct jobs in free zones, the highest numbers in the last 15 years of direct jobs in free zones”, he affirms.

As a great boost to the sector he defined decree 588-20, which declares industrialization as a high priority, which according to his textual words seeks to “unite the two wings of the dove of production: free zones and industry, which had always been back to back and no one had taken on the task of unifying them.

“So far this year, we have more than ten billion pesos more in sales from the local industry to the free zones. And the free zones buy six billion dollars a year and we are growing in what we sell to them. We sell more or less 100 billion pesos, in what we sell from the local market for them to export”, he adds.

As an example, he cites the installation of the first two aseptic plastics factories in the country.

“When you finished the medical components in any of the free trade zones, Las Americas, San Isidro, Itabo, where there are large investments in medical components, they would go to Puerto Rico to wrap them,” he deplored.

According to figures managed by the MICM, in terms of free zone manufacturing, the activity recovered 100% of the jobs suspended as a result of the confinement, growing 24.2% inter-annual in January-September 2021.

The growth of economic activity in free zones is attributed to actions of promotion, facilitation and assistance to the sector, which from January to September have grown 27 %, and 21 % compared to the same period in 2019. That is equivalent to US$1.11 billion exported, more than in 2020, and US$920 million more than in 2019.

These companies are located in Santiago (35.5 %), Distrito Nacional (11.8 %), San Pedro de Macorís (9.7 %), Santo Domingo (9.7 %), San Cristóbal (8.6 %) and the rest (24.7 %). The mines will generate new jobs in the tobacco and tobacco products (24.7%), call centers (17.2%), agroindustrial (7.5%), services (7.5%), medical devices and pharmaceuticals (5.4%) and the rest (37.6%) subsectors.


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