Local July 26, 2014 | 9:39 am

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Little known agency reveals Dominican government’s largess

Santo Domingo.- The astronomic salaries in the recently created agency in charge of bolstering the country’s competitiveness –as high as RD$500,000 monthly for its president- reveals the Dominican Government’s runaway salaries in a country whose minimum wage is as paltry RD$6,000 (US$141) in many cases.

Pro-Competencia director Michelle Cohen defended the entity’s wages in response to “those who’ve criticized the salaries of its members while the agency’s resolutions have yet totake effect.”

She said Pro-Competencia’s bylaws established its officials’ salaries because the legislation seeks s to recruit “valuable human resources” including highly trained and advanced staff and specialists. "We’re also guaranteeing the’re no conditions so these officials, employees and members of the Commission are subjected to bribery."

Pro-Competencia’s surprising salaries add to the rebuke by many sectors over runaway salaries in the government, but especially the country’s Central Bank, whose Governor reportedly pockets more than RD$1.0 million per month, even higher than the President’s.

The first to blow the whistle on the National Competitiveness Agency’s (Pro-Competencia) salaries was Monte Plata senator Charlie Mariotti, who noted that while the law that created it has yet to take effect, it operates with a budget allocation since 2011 and each member gets paid RD$385,000 monthly and its president RD$ 500,000.

Interviewed by Manuel Jiménez and Felipe Ciprián on Digital 15, Cohen said the law empowers Committee members to act as a court and make unpopular decisions.

The official said the entity’s role is to ensure quality the availability of products at the lowest price. “Regulating a market of 60 billion dollars, ensuring lawful competition, obtaining better quality products at the best price for citizens, are the cardinal objectives of the National Competitiveness Protection Commission.”

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