SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Oct. 30 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The commissioner of the REF, José Ramón Barrera, regretted this Monday that many of the measures that were incorporated into the reform five years ago “have been relegated due to lack of investment from the central administration.”
The head of the new body of the Government of the Canary Islands in charge of ensuring compliance and modernization of the Canary Islands jurisdiction considers that “it is urgent that the Government of Spain assumes its obligations with the singularities so that living, working and investing in the islands offers the same opportunities as in the rest of the country.”
The latest major reform of the Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) of the Canary Islands celebrates its fifth anniversary this November 5.
Promoted by the Parliament of the Canary Islands and approved in the Cortes Generales, the update of the economic part of the REF was the most ambitious undertaken since its initial approval in 1972.
This modification explicitly obliges the central administration to comply with the provisions of the REF and another milestone was its separation from regional financing.
Now, the launch of the REF Commissioner’s office seeks to bring the content of the jurisdiction closer to the Canarian population “so that they know, value and defend it given the transversal influence it has on our reality,” says José Ramón Barrera.
Likewise, another of its objectives is “to continue working so that the economic part and, especially, the fiscal part, which has been almost intact since 1994 and which is key for the islands today, adapt with sufficient power and flexibility to drive our future.”
Among many other novelties of the REF reform, the one with the greatest impact among citizens was the increase in the discount on air and sea tickets for residents, which went from 50% to 75%.
This year, the national government will allocate 825 million to the resident discount, which in addition to the Canary Islands includes the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, as stated in the General State Budgets (PGE).
Another of the crucial demands for the Canarian economy is the bonus for freight transport.
The State committed in 2018 to reduce airport taxes, especially those for container traffic, and to compensate 100% of the cost of transporting goods with the Peninsula and other EU countries.
However, the Ministry of Transportation is still far from covering all these expenses and, in addition, the payment of aid to Canarian businessmen takes up to two years, says Barrera.
EQUALIZE THE ELECTRICAL RATE
Five years ago, the REF also incorporated measures to equalize the energy and water rates paid by consumers on the islands with those of the rest of the territory.
Along these lines, compensations are established for the production of electricity and the objective is set for the archipelago to be self-sufficient with renewables, something that has achieved uneven results so far, with El Hierro being the one that has implemented the highest percentage of clean energy, with 50%, and La Gomera is the only one that still does not have wind or solar.
For desalinated or reused water there is also a battery of aid that totals 50 million euros in this year’s PGE.
Thus, some 8.5 million are allocated to water treatment plants, another eight million to make desalinated water cheaper for agriculture; 20 million go to support the natural water cycle and 14 million more for agricultural irrigation, either with water from galleries, wells or reused.
BUSINESS WITH AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
Problems such as the one that recently caused the blockade of the British potato, due to fear of a new plague, are also part of the modifications introduced in 2018.
The standard indicates that regional and national authorities must collaborate to identify problems and find solutions, in particular, regarding phytosanitary and zoosanitary inspection so that the State can defend the interests of the Canary Islands before the EU.
The REF also includes specific measures for the primary sector.
In the current General State Budgets, an item of 21 million euros is allocated to complement the European aid from POSEI, with which to finance 100% of the promotion of agricultural activity, 65% of the cost of agricultural insurance and projects to preserve the native breeds and species.
In parallel, these funds aim to turn tourist establishments into ambassadors of local products. The star project, which has not yet been executed, is the creation of an International Center for Agricultural Technologies, through which Europe can do business with countries in West Africa and Latin America.
DIGITALIZATION AND LANGUAGES FOR EMPLOYMENT
The Comprehensive Employment Plan of the Canary Islands, endowed with 45 million euros this year, is also part of the REF.
In this field, the changes incorporated into the REF in 2018 are so specific that they define specific actions such as, for example, the need to train a community dedicated to tourism, like ours, in languages and make workers master the tools. technological.
Likewise, the reform promoted the development of professionalism certificates, an initiative that has already been launched.
This measure makes it easier for workers with experience, but without formal training, to obtain an official title that certifies their abilities.
Also included in the new REF are the financing of training plans for employers and unions, scholarships for student travel between islands and ensuring the adequate provision of vocational training places.
A measure that has not yet been implemented is to develop a specific Vocational Training plan to promote gastronomic knowledge linked to local products.
The standard specifies that the most representative social agents must participate in this initiative.
MORE HOUSING FOR RENT AND GERIATRIC HOUSING
The update of the REF included new incentives for the Canarian productive sector.
Although companies that produce tangible goods already paid 50% personal income tax and corporate tax, as of 2018 the bonus is calculated taking into account the aid from the Canary Islands Supply Regime (REA) and the Support for Agricultural Productions.
In addition, a new article on waste management was included as it introduces the duty of public authorities to implement measures to prioritize the recycling of polluting waste and promote the implementation of treatment plants in the Archipelago applying the principle of proximity. .
In this year’s PGE, one million euros are allocated to the transportation of waste between islands.
The Economic and Fiscal Regime Law also anticipated the exponential growth of tourist housing and tried to discourage its expansion by prohibiting the use of the Canary Islands Investment Reserve (RIC) for that purpose five years ago.
On the other hand, it did open the possibility for companies to invest their profits in the promotion of VPO housing for rent, in social and health centers, nursing homes and geriatric homes.