Javier Siman, a renowned businessman and president of the National Association of Private Enterprises (ANEP), last week in various televised events, expressed that an economic crisis is coming to El Salvador in 2021.
Siman expressed that the high level of debt acquired by the Nayib Bukele administration has put the country on the wrong path that will lead to an increase in taxes, loss of jobs, and more poverty.
“Due to the high level of indebtedness, an economic crisis is coming; it is a perfect storm with poverty, bad economy, violence, and unemployment.” Siman indicated.
Javier Siman has been a critic of president Bukele’s government style; he referred to Bukele as a populist president who needs to have someone to confront to increase their popularity. Since becoming president, president Bukele has had a confrontation with the press, the constitutional chamber, the legislative assembly, and the Salvadoran electoral tribunal.
Siman also expressed that the role of ANEP is to question what the people in government are doing with public funds, “We don’t mind paying taxes, as long as they use it properly.” Siman has criticized the lack of transparency the Bukele administration has shown regarding public funds used for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nayib Bukele administration admits that the country was forced to incur more debt to manage the COVID-19 pandemic; however, they do not share Siman’s outlook on tax increases or that an economic crisis is coming.
The response to Siman’s allegations, Alejandro Zelaya, the finance minister, stated the following. “I don’t usually pay attention to this individual, his desperation because ARENA and others who were tolerant of tax evasion, return to power is more than evident. I will say it one more time: we are not going to increase taxes; what we will do is to continue fighting tax evasion.”
Since taking over as Finance Minister, Zelaya has presented to the Salvadoran Attorney General FGR over 70 tax evasion cases. The Bukele administration is counting on stopping tax evasion as a way to increase the country’s income.