LIMA, June 12 Peru plans to apply fewer
environmental fines and ensure development rights in protected
nature reserves as part of a bid to encourage mining and energy
investments, the government said on Thursday.
President Ollanta Humala said late on Wednesday that he was
sending Congress a series of proposals designed to perk up
relatively sluggish economic growth.
The finance ministry said the package would add at least 1.5
to 3 percentage points to economic growth in two or three years.
Besides continuing an effort to cut red tape and speed up
investments, the changes include encouraging energy projects by
protecting concession rights in places like nature reserves.
"It's estimated that this will untangle at least $11 billion
in hydrocarbon projects," the ministry said in a statement.
The plan also proposes cutting fines levied by environmental
regulator OEFA by 65 percent.
"Maintaining environmental rules, OEFA will apply, over
three years, 35 percent of the fines it would charge," the
ministry said in a statement.
The changes appear to reverse previous efforts by Humala's
environment ministry, which announced in recent years that it
would triple the maximum fine on polluting companies and close a
legal loophole used to get out of paying them.
Some companies have called for a more gradual application of
the biggest environmental fines.
The environment ministry, which will help host international
climate talks in Peru later this year, did not respond to
requests to comment.
Humala was elected partly on promises to make sure mining,
which makes up about 15 percent of the gross domestic product,
does not come before the environment or local communities.
Peru is a top producer of copper, gold and silver, but
falling mineral exports have dragged down the Andean country's
rapid economic growth from rates that once topped 6 percent.
The World Bank now expects Peru to grow 4 percent in 2014 -
lower than the 5.5 percent expansion it estimated early this
The economic package also includes forgiving some $7 billion
in interest on back taxes owed by local companies, the finance
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Eric Walsh)