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Angelina Biviana Riveiro Disla

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Economy

Young At Heart

President, National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE)

Bio

Angelina Biviana Riveiro Disla is the President of the National Association of Young Businessmen (ANJE) and founding partner of legal firm Grupo Legalia. She was a graduate with Magna Cum Laude honors from the PUCMM School of Law in Santo Domingo in 2002. Other qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Corporate Business Law and Postgraduate Degree in Economics for Business. Her legal career began in 2000 as a Paralegal, which was followed by diverse positions including Legal Advisor for the Management of Regulatory Policies and the Management of International Affairs of the Instituto Dominicano de Telecomunicaciones (INDOTEL). In 2010 she founded Grupo Legalia, where she works as a lawyer. She is an arbitrator of the Chamber of Commerce of Santo Domingo.

TBY talks to Angelina Biviana Riveiro Disla, President of ANJE, on getting the business environment right, raising the efficiency of public institutions, and sectors to watch.

Could you talk us through ANJE’s background?

ANJE was founded on the idea that certain changes or reforms were required in the economy. The relationship between the public sector and the private sector was very tense at that time, 36 years ago. ANJE’s founder believed that businesspeople needed to promote the necessary reforms on the economy to increase the level of private sector participation, and also to strengthen our public sector. A key role that ANJE plays is to adopt a critical view on certain issues that are affecting the economy and social development, including services, the regulatory framework, and national as well as foreign investment.

What are the main benefits of being a member of ANJE and what activities are you currently involved in?

One of the benefits of being a member is preferential access to certain activities, not only those of ANJE, but also training activities that academic and other institutions offer. Another benefit is having the opportunity to participate in public debates and impact the public agenda through many initiatives such as the National Development Strategy. We have collaborated with Congress to incorporate our ideas on improving both the efficiency and the transparency of our public institutions. Now we have an information-based society that facilitates this somewhat. We are also in favor of modifying our labor code to incorporate more flexible norms, both in terms of the major topics under public scrutiny and also in terms of implementation improvements, especially those related to process. With the labor code, you have to find the right balance between workers and employers to increase employment rates, improve the labor market and to make it a driver of legality, prosperity and equality. There are many issues to be solved and we are pleased that the dialogue between employers, workers, and the government has been restarted. We really hope that we can have a more flexible and modern labor code in the future.

What is your general outlook for the Dominican Republic’s economy and in what sectors do you see the greatest growth potential?

We are concerned about the commercial sector, especially retail, which is one of the sectors that used to have a very big influence in the economy for many years. We think that current growth is heavily affected by the impact that the mining sector has had on the economy. We have to be prepared for what we are going to do when the mining sector leaves the country in 20, or maybe less, years. Mining is a sector where there is adverse public opinion, which I think is normal. However, we will not be able to sustain our mining sector over the long term because it is a finite resource. I think that the economy is improving; nevertheless ANJE is concerned about the public debt. The Senate just approved a deficit budget again and there are some points that I think as a country we need to review, such as the price of oil and the electricity sector subsidy. And even though the judicial system’s budget has increased slightly, I believe the government hasn’t supported that sector properly. It is one of the most important sectors because it creates the right balance of power between the legislature and the executive branch of government. I also think we have to support the industrial sector more. We have to address the issues that are affecting our industrial sector to increase productivity, competitiveness and make our economy one that is able to export more rather than import. Tourism and the commercial sector are also vital. Technology is a less explored sector, but we have advanced in this area over the last ten years. The telecommunications sector has always been one of the main drivers.

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