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Daily News - 04 February 1998

Government overspending affects business sector
The government overspending in December is one of the main reasons for the informal devaluation of the Dominican peso. The National Budget execution figures for December reveal that the government spent RD$813.59 million on Christmas bonuses alone. The government gave full Christmas bonuses to everyone on its payroll. The Fernández administration had given government employees and retirees hefty salary increases, thus the impact of the double salaries at Christmas time was greater. The extra money in circulation resulted in an increase in the demand for U.S. dollars. In order to maintain macroeconomic stability, the Central Bank injected dollars from its reserves into the economy and at the same time implemented constrictive measures that have led to an increase in the interest rate on commercial bank loans. The higher cost of money has had an negative effect on Dominican businesses that had plans for expansion in 1998, taking advantage of the relatively low interest rates that prevailed in 1997.
The government received record tax collections in December, at RD$4,404.7 millon, but it also established a new record for disbursements in a month, with RD$4,340.5 million.
According to Hector Linares, economic editor of the Ultima Hora newspaper, the government spent money at a higher velocity than it collected it in December, having to draw on reserves.
The National Treasury contributed the most to the December collections, with RD$1,607.7 million or 36% of government tax receipts. Throughout the year, the National Treasury contributed RD$8,058.2 million.
Customs Bureau collected RD$1,228.05 million in December. Customs collected a total of RD$11,953.29 millon in 1997.
The Direccion General del Impuesto sobre la Renta, the income tax bureau, collected RD$1,078.30 million. The total for 1997 was RD$9,363.7 million. The Dirección General de Rentas Internas, or the internal revenue bureau, reported income for RD$490.5 million in December, and an overall year's total of RD$5,168.2 million. Today both departments make up the Dirección General de Impuestos Internos (DGII), the general bureau for domestic taxes.

Talks advance for PRD-PRSC pact
Hoy newspaper reports that the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano and the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano have advanced on negotiations leading to an electoral alliance for the municipal and congressional elections scheduled for May 16, 1998. The PRD and the PRSC are the majority parties in Congress and the municipalities, not the incumbent party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, PLD.

Casa del Mar resort formally opened
President Leonel Fernández was present at the formal inauguration of the Casa del Mar resort, the first major hotel to open in the Bayahibe beach area. The 600 room hotel was built by the Bayahibe Beach Resort at a cost of RD$500 million. The Central Romana, which also owns Casa de Campo, the Hotel Santo Domingo and operates the Hotel Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic, announced that the company has plans to build a new international airport, and a golf course in the area, bringing the investment to RD$1,600 million. Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez was present at the event, as was Marino Ginebra, president of the Bayahibe Beach Resort, who is also president of the Association of Hotels & Restaurants (Asonahores). The hotel will be operated by Amhsa, a local hotel operator, presided by Marino Ginebra. The Casa del Mar was built on an area of 232,000 square meters, northeast of the town of Bayahibe. Alberto Daly is the general manager.

Autopista Duarte to be finished by April
Minister of Public Works, Jimmy Duran told the press yesterday that work is advancing on completing the exits on the Duarte Highway that lead to Constanza, San Francisco de Macorís and the bypass of La Vega. He said the highway that crosses the D.R. from North to South would be completed by April 1. He also said that an additional RD$200 million investment is needed. The government is investing RD$5,000 million in the expansion of the Autopista Duarte.

Frontier forest being deforested to sell wood to Haiti
Ecology expert Domingo Abreu Collado alerted the nation, in the Hoy newspaper, that virgin areas of the Parque Nacional Sierra de Neiba, as declared by Presidential Decree 221 of 1995, are being deforested by Haitians and Dominicans who seek to sell wood to Haiti primarily for charcoal. The forest is in an area where important rivers are born, such as the Rio Macasia. The forest has the largest concentration of mahogany known in the D.R. The author criticized the passive attitude of frontier authorities that is placing at risk the deforestation of the D.R., such as has occurred in Haiti. Abreu Collado said that Dominican authorities have not intervened to not perturb the harmonious relations that exist today with neighboring Haiti.

Sports agreements signed
The Dominican Republic signed six bilateral sports agreements with Latin American nations. Ministers of sports and deputy ministers from Latin America, Portugal and Spain were in Santo Domingo for the IV Ordinary General Assembly of the Iberoamerican Sports Council (CID). The D.R. signed agreements with Portugal (organization of sports events), Argentina (boxing), Peru (volleyball), Costa Rica (swimming), Venezuela (cycling) and Spain (soccer) for the exchange of knowledge in the area of construction of sports installations, sporting goods, scientific equipment for sports, and an exchange of information and experiences for the organization of major sports events. Minister of Sports Juan Marichal said that the country would benefit greatly from these agreements. The Dominican Republic agreed to send Spain and Portugal baseball and softball coaches.

D.R. vs. P.R. in Caribbean Series opening game
The Dominican Republic's Aguilas Cibaeñas will match the Indios de Mayagüez, from Puerto Rico in the first game of the Caribbean Series which opens tonight at 8 pm in Puerto de la Cruz, Venezuela. Peter O'Malley, president of the Los Angeles Dodgers will pitch the first ball. The games will be transmitted by radio and television to audiences in the Dominican Republic. In the Series, the D.R. will compete against the Cardenales de Lara of Venezuela and the Mazatlán of Mexico.
The Dominican Republic has won the most championships, with 10 pennants, followed by Puerto Rico with 9 wins, Venezuela with five wins and Mexico with three. As of year 1990, the D.R. won in 1997, 1994, 1991 and in 1990. The Dominican team was received at the airport in Venezuela by hundreds of fans to the beat of the merengue, "El pollito," the little chicken.

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