Costa Rica 2018 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Miguel Aguiar, General Manager, Banca Para el Desarrollo, on the sector.

Miguel Aguiar

Is it tough for SMEs to compete in Costa Rica where operational costs are high?

It is extremely tough, which is why we are working on improving the cost of credit. Today, we have a loan portfolio close to CRC200 billion (USD354 million) that was granted at basic passive rates during the entire term of the loan. Costa Rica has to work on creating loan solutions that include grace periods to allow SMEs to begin paying their loans when they reach the breakeven point given that it is difficult to for them to start paying back immediately.

What are your goals and priorities for 2018?

Our priority for 2018 is building a system to boost innovation and entrepreneurship. In the last few years, we have built a credit distribution channel integrating 59 financial entities within a specific standard regulation. Now, we are working hard to integrate all institutional entities in our country to create the platform for our 2018 priority. We are involving all state institutions and ministries, with a great emphasis on education. We are also working with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on rural entrepreneurship issues to generate a program at the rural level.