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A Government Job In Costa Rica Is Better Than Winning The Lottery

It is said, getting a government job in Costa Rica better than winning the lottery. And here’s why.

A report in La Nacion reveals how employees of 82 State institutions earn more in incentives than basic salary. These include employees of the ICT, JPS and RECOPE, where bonuses are more than twice the basic salary.

At the Junta de Protección Social (JPS) – the state agency that runs the country’s lotteries, it budget for salaries for 2017 is ¢2.980 billion colones; however, when it comes to incentives, the figure is more than twice the base salary: ¢6.897 billion.

At the RECOPE, the state refinery, the base salaries budget for this year is ¢10.765 billion, while the bonuses add up to ¢24.585 billion.

The figures are public and must be reported to the Comptroller General’s Office (Contraloría General in Spanish).

Other state agencies that pay more in bonuses and than salaries are the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), the Poder Judicial (Judiciary), the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), as well the Presidencia (Government House), Asamblea Legislativa (Legislature), the Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) and the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT).

The differences are a matter of concern for the Contraloria saying the disparity “distorts both the nature of the inventive and that of the base salary” in a report published earlier this year.

“In many cases, the incentive was created as a way to compensate for very low base salaries, but the most palpable result is that of a fractionated system, with a vegetative growth difficult to contain and not adjusted to the real possibilities of the Treasury,” said the Fiscal and Budgetary Evolution Report of the Public Sector (informe Evolución Fiscal y Presupuestaria del Sector Público).

The concern of the state’s financial controller is that “spending on bonuses is growing at a time when the government faces several financial problems”.

The Contraloria notes that currently, tax revenues only cover 50% of expenses, leaving the administration to get into debt to finance the rest.

The report noted ten years ago, revenues covered 70% of government costs.

The state universities, the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), the Universidad Nacional (UNA), the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR), the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED)and the Consejo Nacional de Rectores (Conare) are also institutions that pay out more in bonuses than salaries.

The UCR and ITCT allocate 1.7 times the base salary in bonuses, at the Conare its 1.8 times. According to the 2017 budget (adjusted to June), the UCR pays ¢59.215 billion in salaries and ¢101.939 billion in bonuses.

Other institutions that allocate more to the payment of bonuses are the Istituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA), the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI), the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL), the Consejo Nacional de Producción (CNP), the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) and the municipalities of Cartago, Santa Cruz, Belén and Montes de Oca.

The graphic by La Nacion details the biggest payers of bonuses over salaries. Forget buying lottery tickets, here are winning numbers.