The chambers affiliated with the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), are still waiting for the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce (Mific), to deliver the ‘certificates of compliance’, which serve to prove that they delivered the documentation required by the Law , and to make arrangements with government agencies and banks in Nicaragua.
Although the majority try not to make any political reading of a fact that they prefer to observe only administratively, the sources –six union leaders representing five chambers affiliated with Cosep – cannot be sure that the backwardnessis not part of the government campaign against NGOsimplemented by the National Assembly, which also recently announced an initiative to “regulation” for national microfinance and finance companies.
Subsection ‘B’ of article 28 of the Law 849, either General Law of Business Union Chambers, Federations and Confederations of Nicaragua, orders “to send to the corresponding unit of the Mific an annual economic balance and a report or memory of its annual activities, approved and signed by the board of directors of the chamber, federation or confederation business. Said documents must be sent in a physical and electronic version no later than the end of the first quarter of the following year.
The six interviewees confirmed to CONFIDENTIAL -from anonymity- that they have not received the aforementioned document. Neither they, nor the rest of the business chambers.
Although the Law does not specify it, the Ministry usually delivers a ‘certainty (or letter) of compliance’, which the cameras must present to the General Directorate of Revenue (DGI), to enforce income tax exemptions (IR); or to make arrangements with financial institutions, for example.
That document “is like the license plate of the mayor’s office, or like a fiscal solvency… if one does not meet that requirement, the right to be a camera is lost, which would be appropriate in a normal country,” but in Nicaragua it is even suspicious. said the manager of one of those entities.
In any case, “the certifications and/or records are issued by the Mific at the request of the interested business union, something similar to the provisions of number 4 of article 22 of Law 849,” added one of the sources, referring to a of the attributions of the Registry of Business Chambers, Federations and Confederations, which must deliver a registration certificate, “at the request of the interested party”.
The Law 849, approved on October 30, 2013, and partially reformed on August 19, 2014, ordered that the chambers -which until then functioned as non-profit associations- redefine their legal nature, and move from the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior, to that of the Mific, which would be its control body from then on.
If until 2018 and 2019, obtaining proof of compliance were simple routine procedures, as of 2020 the administrators of the chambers began to receive the documents up to two months late, which is repeating itself in 2022, and makes organized businessmen fear that it is not a bureaucratic delay, but a political decision they still can’t explain.
If the six businessmen agreed that they had not received the usual document, their reaction was not the same when trying to determine why none of them -or their colleagues- have that record in their possession.
“We assume that they are going to deliver them late, and nothing more. At this point we have no reason to believe they won’t deliver, but they are taking their time. What surprises us is that they have not been delivered to anyone. The rest of the cameras confirm it to me, and they confirm it themselves at Mific,” said one of the sources.
“Every year – on March 31 at the latest – we deliver the documentation to the Mific, and they deliver the proof of compliance a few weeks later, but this time they have not delivered them, despite the fact that we began to ask for them after the end of the Holy Week,” another source said.
“Almost two months have passed since we delivered the documentation, and it would be necessary to assess whether the cameras feel that it is an excess of time or not. I see it as an intermediate period, because they could have already handed them over, it’s true, but at this moment I couldn’t conclude that they intend to expropriate the cameras, ”he added.
Although the campaign to ban and close NGOs puts them on alert and raises concern because this backwardness may be politically motivated, and be the beginning of new attacks against the private sector“I think the Ministry is within a reasonable time frame,” said the source, admitting that the government could order the Mific to go against a particular camera.
Other voices watching the delay, also call not to draw hasty conclusions, like the president of a chamber who claims to have delivered all the required information, within the established period. “They received it and there was no objection, so we are waiting for when it is our turn to receive the certificate, but we do not feel that there is a delay, because last year, for example, they began to deliver them between July and August,” he said. .
The manager of another chamber said that they have not received the compliance letter either, but “we understand that they are making progress, only that the process is becoming more cumbersome, although I have no idea why. It is possible that there is nothing political in this, but that they are simply being more demanding and there are more things to review, which made the process slower, ”he surmised.
A director of that same chamber agreed with his manager, acknowledging that “they have not given it to anyone, but perhaps it is not for any political reason, but because there was a change of minister, and I suppose that influences” the operation of the Ministry. Finally, the president of another chamber said that the entity he directs “delivered all the information and it is under review, but they have not delivered the letter to us. I understand that they have not been handed over to any other camera.”