Now any company with vested interests may be on corporate boards that deal with a lot of budgetary and economic regulations, according to ANEP CEO, Leonor Silva.
Now that Najib Bukele’s government has removed representatives of the National Association for Private Enterprise (ANEP) from 23 independent and decentralized institutions, they will be left at the mercy of any businessman or private person with specific interests to join their boards and “be a cover” for the decisions they make.
Big-budget institutions and major projects such as the Autonomous Port Executive Committee (Cepa) or those regulating key economic sectors such as the General Electricity and Communications Supervision Authority (Siget) are some of those that will now be available to special interests.
According to ANEP CEO, Leonor Silva, “There will be a risk of conflict of interest, as individual companies may present candidates to the boards of these independent companies.”
“The interest in evading all kinds of oversight of citizens and accountability that other governments have tried in the past is taking shape,” the union said in a statement.
Even before these reforms, approved by the Legislative Assembly dominated by the ruling party of New Ideas, representatives of the productive sector – who were also not a majority on boards of directors – exercised the role of financial controllers and cast their votes in favor or in favor of favor vs. .
“In most autonomous societies, the highest level is the board of directors, which consists of the president or head of the enterprise, a series of ministers and, in some cases, representatives of the workers, representatives of the private sector and the academic
At these meetings, the Board of Directors approves policies and annual business plans that include investments of millions of dollars that are taken by consensus and by diversity of opinions. If something is outside the law, any representative of the council can vote against it and prove his position on a project he does not participate in and that is reflected in the last minutes.
But now, there is an even greater danger that it is the representatives associated with the government who are voting for their own interests and hiding information about money management and regulations for or against.
According to ANEP, these independent companies manage approximately $2,045 million annually on various projects.
This happened already in 2012, when former president Mauricio Funes, de facto, withdrew representatives of private companies from 19 independent institutions.
One of them was Banco Hipotecario, a board-run organization from which $350 million was transferred behind the back of private representation.
The elimination of important institutions could only be halted after the Constitutional Chamber repealed the decrees and asked Funes to reinstate many of these representatives.
However, the current scenario is now different as Silva asserts that they do not trust the Constitutional Chamber to do the same this time, considering that the Court’s judges were forced by the ruling Legislative Assembly on May 1.
He stressed, “We warn the population that these old practices will bring more nepotism, waste and corruption to the transitional period for independent entities.”
The President of the Republic, Najib Boukil, justified last night during a press conference that the decision of the Legislative Council does not exclude ANEP from subsequent participation in the representation of boards of directors.
Silva also clarified that it was not ANEP that decided to represent the business on boards. Of these 23 independents, only 6 had representatives appointed by the union, but the rest were elected represented by their sectors, also taking care that there was no conflict of interest from the councils of which they were composed.
ANEP is made up of 50 sectors and 55 economic subsectors.
In other institutions such as the Salvadoran Vocational Training Institute (Insaforp), the representation of private companies is supported by the International Labor Organization (ILO), and therefore, the government should not appoint their representatives as this violates freedom of association and representation. .
Indeed, next week the Salvadoran state, through its Minister of Labour, Rolando Castro, should explain to the ILO these violations of labor rights, referring to cases that began in 2012 and now, as well as the current government cases. .
Silva said that after the reforms, the government has now set up mechanisms to remove private sector representatives from the self-governing communities, something they cannot even as a union do once they are appointed.