LA PAZ – The drop in international prices for hydrocarbons and minerals will cost Bolivia more than $3 billion, President Evo Morales said, though he insisted the loss of revenue “does not scare” Bolivians.
Plunging crude oil prices are likely to reduce the amount of money flowing into the treasury by $2.5 billion, he said during a meeting with Bolivian ambassadors.
Natural gas exports are the mainstay of Bolivia’s economy and the price of gas is linked to oil prices.
Morales said his government will compensate for the loss by increasing domestic investment.
“We don’t know how long this global financial crisis will last, but it is not the responsibility of the government,” he said. “It is regrettable that capitalism’s crisis has an impact on developing countries.”
Morales said Bolivia’s economy will grow 4.5 percent this year, about one percentage point higher than the forecasts of international institutions such as the World Bank.
The actual growth figure will determine whether public and private sector workers will receive the December bonus enacted by the Morales administration in 2013.
In years when the economy expands by 4.5 percent or more, workers receive the equivalent of three monthly salaries in December.