Some Positive Measures / Fernando Dámaso

The press reports that at a meeting of the Council of Ministers they took some steps to ease aspects of self-employment. Among them: increasing from twenty-five to fifty the number of chairs allowed in paladares (private restaurants); reducing for a time the fee paid to rent a house from two hundred to one hundred and fifty pesos (both in hard currency and national currency); increasing from twenty to forty percent the expenses that can be deducted in transport using animal power; considering a three to six month tax free extension for the repair of homes or motor vehicles for rentals, and others of similar content.

Although these measures are far from what is really necessary, they alleviate some burdens imposed on self-employment and permit its development while stimulating those who perform it. They show some concern for its achievement and are signs that, despite the inertia that still exists, they are facing the realities, correcting the previous regulations, something that never happened before.

However, it is noteworthy that it is the Council of Ministers who has to decide. If we analyze each measure, we note that they are simple adjustments of something already approved in its general form, for different levels of power. Nothing of particular importance. They couldn’t deal with those issues of little importance to the respective ministries and State institutions, without burdening the Council of Ministers? Is there no more quick and direct way to untie knots?

For many years, perhaps too many, the heads of ministries and State institutions have lacked the real power of decision, being simply executor of a supreme will that determined and decided everything. In addition, their main role was to serve as scapegoats for failure. This created and consolidated the disastrous centralization they are trying to remove today. Would not it be convenient to begin to implement it, giving them responsibilities that are inherent in their positions? The thousands of adjustments and adaptations required must be left to the individual responsible and not just the Council of Ministers. It would be an impossible task for them, as they should occupy themselves dealing with issues far more momentous.

I mention these small steps and vote because they continue to take, because ultimately should result in a slight improvement in the situation of citizens, although they are not the total solution to our many problems. But we should take what we can get, which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aspire to get everything.

June 1 2011