Chile‘s President Gabriel Boric announced on Thursday a $3.7 billion economic recovery plan that includes a hike in the minimum wage, subsidies and financing for sectors of the economy still battling fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key goals of the plan, the president said, include creating 500,000 jobs and raising the current monthly minimum wage of 350,000 pesos ($434) to 400,000 pesos ($496) by the end of the year.
“We all know we’re living through hard times and it’s our duty from the government to work to alleviate those worries you have,” Boric, a leftist who took power last month, said in a news conference.
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Citing rising prices and inflation, he said the government would freeze public transit fares for the rest of the year and subsidize fuel prices.
Boric, a former student protester, also announced that food scholarships for students would increase by 15%. That was the main demand of the first organized protest during his presidency in March.
The plan also includes subsidies for parents of young children, a one-time payment for culture workers and $300 million fund for local governments to use for infrastructure.
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Boric said the plan was aimed at helping those “who haven’t found private or state help to get ahead,” and will offer financing for small-scale miners and 100,000 small businesses without access to banks.
Chile‘s central bank last month lowered its economic growth forecast for 2022 and predicted annual inflation could reach 8.2%.
“We know this recovery plan is a starting point,” Boric said. “Big changes aren’t made overnight and for these changes to be sustainable, they have to be implemented responsibly.”