Chilean presidential candidates unveil economic plans
Santiago, Nov 5 --(EFE)-- The two leading Chilean presidential
democrat Ricardo Lagos and opposition rightist Joaquin Lavin, released the
principal objectives of their economic plans at a seminar attended by more than
Lagos, the candidate for the ruling coalition, called on the business
forget the past and set aside mistrust to unite and face a new era, while Lavin
proposed a total restructuring of the government.
Both proposals were presented at the National Business Encounter
featuring a closing address by Chilean President Eduardo Frei, which gathered
together leading Chilean businessmen and economic authorities including
Finance Minister Eduardo Aninat and Central Bank President Carlos Massad.
Lagos, leading the polls as the most likely successor to President
the progress made by the current ruling coalition and invited the executives to
create a ``new strategic alliance'' to stimulate national development.
``It is indispensable for us to emancipate ourselves from the
traumas of the past
to begin the new millenium with a free and constructive spirit,'' Lagos said.
Lagos expressed the need for the government to strive for the
common good and
for business to maximize reinvestment of revenues even as he announced his
government would double the budget allocations for small and medium sized
business support programs and services.
Lagos also proposed the creation of an export promotion fund for
medium sized businesses and agreed to propose legislation that would help
prevent big business from abusing small contractors and providers.
In response, Lavin criticized the Frei administration and said
the nation should
return to a growth rate of 7 percent per year and create one million new jobs over
the next six years.
``Our program is based on three pillars: a new macroeconomic equilibrium
will stimulate export growth, investments and savings; the creation of new
opportunities for entrepreneurial initiative, and the reengineering of the State,''
Lavin said exports should once again become the engine driving
growth, and said he hoped to double exports over the next six years to reach 30
billion dollars per year while establishing flexible commercial policies.
Lavin said increases in fiscal spending should average 5 percent
per year, adding
that his government will center its focus on social problems, instead of ``catering
to the wealthy.''
Chile's presidential elections are scheduled for Dec. 12, 1999.