June 26th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) A study by the Ministry of Finance has revealed significant discrepancies in the pensions awarded to former public employees, most importantly the extremely high pensions received by some former public officials, ministers, and lawmakers in comparison to other public employees.
Some 15% of all government pensions exceed ¢2,600,000 per month. Many others exceed ¢6 million per month, such as the ¢6.1 million per month paid to the current education minister, Sonia Marta Mora, for her previous posts. In one case, a former ambassador is receiving a monthly pension of ¢16 million, or about $30,000 per month.
Marta, for her part, has declined to accept a salary for her new post as education minister.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Fernando Rodriguez, said many of those with extremely high pensions were former ambassadors, who received significantly higher salaries during their working career because they were based overseas.
Many others are former education, public works, and port officials.
Comptroller General Martha Acosta has called the new government’s attention to the matter, saying the government is currently spending more than ¢655 billion (about $1.2 billion USD) annually on pension payments, representing an average of 2.6% of the country’s GDP.
Worst still, most of that spending is financed through debt.
Acosta said the situation is “unsustainable over time.”
The Superintendent of Pensions, Edgar Robles said that not much can be done about the situation as beneficiaries have a vested right to their pensions which cannot be changed.