National Public Investment System of Costa Rica
Statutory Governing Body:
Executive Decree 34694 establishes the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN) as the statutory governing body of the National Public Investment System (SNIP). Among its main functions, it gives advice and technical support to the Presidency of the Republic and is in charge of formulating, coordinating, following up on and assessing the government’s strategies and priorities. The Public Investment Unit is part of MIDEPLAN and is in charge of implementing the SNIP, managing the public investment projects bank, preparing methodologies and instructions and advising the ministries and other government bodies on the formulation, assessment and follow-up of public investment projects.
Among the related entities, the Ministry of Finance and the General Comptroller of the Republic are worth mentioning. Both mainly participate in assigning resources to investment projects and play an important role in the monitoring of budget execution.
The Ministries and other entities and institutions are responsible for the investment projects from the identification of the needs or problems that need solving, the formulation and ex-ante assessment of the projects, prioritization and selection, reporting the financial physical progress until carrying out the relevant ex-post assessments.
The Costa Rica SNIP is ruled by different laws and Decrees, especially the Law on Planning (5525) published on May 18th, 1974 creating the National Planning System and establishing that the MIDEPLAN should ensure that public investment programs (including those of decentralized institutions and other organization ruled by public law) are compatible with the stipulations and priority order established in the National Development Plan (PND). It also mandates that no ministry, nor autonomous or semi-autonomous body can initiate procedures to obtain credits abroad without prior approval of the MIDEPLAN. On August 22nd, 2008 Executive Decree 34694-PLAN-H “Regulations for the Constitution and Functioning of the SNIP of General Regulations and Definitions” was published, which, as its name indicates, establishes the regulations and definitions for its functioning and appoints as the MIDEPLAN as the SNIP steering body. Its functions, described in the Decree, include the preparation of the National Public Investment Plan and determines the Public Investment Unit as the operative entity to carry out the functions necessary for the correct application of the SNIP. On July 20th, 2009 Executive Decree 35374-PLAN was published ruling the preparation of document “Technical Regulations, Guidelines and Procedures for Public Investment” which is used by all institutions covered by the SNIP, in the processes of project formulation, programming, budget assignation and execution and follow-up of the investment or capital expenses in the country. See the complete legal framework.
Through the Investment Unit, the MIDEPLAN has developed a set of general and specific methodologies for the most representative sectors in public investment that guide public officers in the formulation and ex-ante assessment of public investment projects”. It considers the assessment of the convenience to execute the projects based on financial indicators (TREMA, NAV, IRR), cost indicators (VAC, CAE) and economic-social indicators (ENPV, EIRR, R-B/C, R-C/E). The Plan, which covers the period 2023-2026, establishes prioritization criteria.
In order to respond to the specific requirements of the most representative sectors, methodologies have been developed too for training and education projects in the public sector, infrastructure in small irrigation areas, police equipment and operation, road infrastructure, final ordinary solid waste disposal, water pipelines and water sewage, construction and equipment of education centers. To facilitate the assessment calculations the document “Social Prices – Guide for their application” is available. To perform the ex-post assessments, there is the “Public Interventions Assessment Manual".
In accordance with the “Technical Regulations, Guidelines and Procedures of Public Investment”, investment projects must transversally consider the environmental and social impact, as well as the identification of potential risks by natural disasters, for which the “Natural Threat Analysis Methodology for Investment Projects” is used. See the list of methodologies (Available only in Spanish).
Public Investment Plans
The National Public Development and Investment Plan (PNDIP) 2023-2026 is considered an instrument for the formulation of strategic priorities for the country's development. It is an instrument based on the best international practices in planning and evaluation of public policies, which considers those strategic areas with high potential for the economic and social development required by our country. Likewise, it is the main medium-term public policy instrument for the country, where the democratic promise is concretized and validated directly by the government mandate given at the ballot box in the last democratic election process. This PNDIP considers citizens and the search for their greater well-being and prosperity as a central element in the strategic planning of the different public interventions based on the Management for Development Results Model, which are adjusted to the current and future needs of Costa Rican society, as well as to the different international agendas and objectives for development, such as the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development and the SDGs in its Agenda 2030. In this way, the different policy efforts, goals, programs and sectoral projects of relevance to the sectoral and regional development vision of the current Administration are concretized. It highlights the prioritization of strategic lines in response to economic, social, environmental and citizen security challenges, which act on priorities such as the modernization of the state apparatus, economic reactivation, reduction of the cost of living, unemployment, poverty, inequality, territorial gaps, among others; which from a comprehensive and modern approach to public policies, allow for a real impact on those areas that afflict state governance to energize the attention to these challenges and thus achieve the welfare of Costa Ricans.
The National Development and Public Investment Plan 2023-2026 (PNDIP) refers to the guiding framework of government policies for a period of four years, prepared under the coordination of Mideplan with the other institutions of the National Planning System (SNP) and citizen participation. The PNDIP must be consistent with the National Strategic Plan (PEN) and take into account the National Sectoral Plans (PNS) and Regional Development Plans (PRD). The PNDIP defines objectives, interventions and goals for the country's development, as well as public budget priorities.
Investment Project Bank
The Public Investment Project Bank (BPIP) is the public investment projects management platform managed by the public investment unit of the MIDEPLAN. The project bank gives updated information to make decisions on investment projects in the process of programming, budget and execution. It recognizes two types of investment projects: those that form fixed capital and those that do not. The BPIP is freely accessible for any user interested in information on the different investment project phases.
On the platform, users can generate reports and download public investment databases identified per entity, region, province, canton, district and national coverage. Project files can be consulted as they contain general information, such as the name of the project, the executory unit, sector, institutional target, description, goal, expected results, direct and indirect beneficiaries, influence area, project stage, sources of financing, total investment amount, investment programming, physical-financial progress, human resource requirement, disaster risk analysis, environmental analysis, ex-ante assessment indicators, institutional implementation risk and related investment projects or programs.
There is also a Costa Rica Investment Map, which is a platform to locate the public investment projects as per their geographical location and showing the details on the physical and financial progress of the projects, photos, the general goal and the expected products once the projects have been finalized. In each of the project profiles, citizens can include publicly visible comments.
The MIDEPLAN offers a broad range of courses given remotely as well as presence-based. It should be noted that they are offered only to public officials and are not open to the community. The section on training on the MIDEPLAN website shows the updated training calendar, a description of the contents, participation requirements, etc. The training program covers relevant topics for the three systems the MIDPLAN is the steering entity of National Public Investment System, National Assessment System and National Planning System. In addition to the current offer, the public entities and bodies can request a training in specific topics of interest. For this, the MIDEPLAN makes forms available on which the entities can send their requests.
Project Management Cycle
In accordance with the effective regulations, the APN bodies identify the investment needs, formulate projects and perform their ex-ante assessment. For the ex-ante assessments several financial indicators, cost indicators and economic-social indicators are taken into consideration. Additionally, a risk analysis is performed and a strategy to mitigate them. In accordance with the nature of the investment projects, some may also require environmental and social impact studies. All projects must identify the intervention goal, the benefiting population, product indicators, result indicators, investment programming throughout the project’s life cycle and sources of financing. Once the investment projects have the documentation requested in accordance with the standards and methodologies developed by the MIDEPLAN, these projects can be registered in the BPIP. The projects registered in the BPIP are considered a priority by the APN bodies and, as they have the support of the Public Investment Unit of MIDEPLAN, can be included in the national budget.
During the implementation phase, the executory entities report on the physical-financial progress of the projects. To facilitate and make the projects transparent, MIDEPLAN has developed platforms such as the BPIP, Mapa Inversiones and the System for Project Management of International Cooperation. These systems are related to the platform “Losses Caused by Natural Phenomena”, which registers public infrastructure that has been affected by natural disasters. In order for this information to remain updated, those responsible for the projects receive alerts that tell them they are reaching the deadline to update the information of the investment project. Once the project has been finished, this must be communicated to the Public Investment Unit and all documentation delivered as per the effective regulation.
MIDEPLAN has been concerned about dealing with the subject of Losses Caused by Natural Phenomena. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (Mideplan), under the coordination of the Executive Secretariat for Agricultural Sector Planning (SEPSA), have been working together since 1988 to process information on the impact of natural phenomena in Costa Rica.
The purposes of this biministerial effort have been to generate systematized information that can serve the objectives of national planning, to make visible the territorial vulnerability and sectoral impacts caused by natural phenomena in Costa Rica, as well as to create the foundations to follow up on the expression that climate change has in this area.
The base information has been obtained from the Emergency Attention Plans, prepared by the National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention (CNE) and has been complemented with documentation from the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Mideplan, MAG and CNE have been presenting the Module of Losses Caused by Natural Phenomena since 1988, which makes data available to the entire interested community on the economic impact of hydrometeorological and tectonic events with Emergency Declarations, by territorial unit and sectors. This tool has the potential to be used for multiple decision-making applications, as well as to support various studies on the country's territorial and sectoral vulnerability.
The preparation of the ex-post assessments of the projects is done by the institutions that execute them. Should they require support or guidance on the assessment, the entities can request this from MIDEPLAN, specifically from the Assessment Unit and the Public Investment Unit; they can also use the tools prepared by the MIDEPLAN for these purposes (see methodologies).
Public Investment Policy Cycle
As of 2019, the Public Investment Plan and the Development Plan are incorporated into one single document, resulting in the 2019-2022 National Bicentennial Development and Public Investment Plan (PNDIP). The PNDIP 2023-2026 considers citizens and the search for their greater well-being and prosperity as a central element in the strategic planning of the different public interventions based on the Management for Development Results Model (GpRD in Spanish), which are adjusted to the current and future needs of Costa Rican society, as well as to the different international agendas and objectives for development, such as the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. In this way, the various policy efforts, goals, programs and sectoral projects of relevance to the sectoral and regional development vision of the current Administration are concretized.
Once the projects contained in the investment program meet the requirements mentioned in the guidelines in force, the UPI of each of the entities proceeds to register them in the BPIP, for which an official letter from the Jerarca (highest authority of the entity) is required, the pre-investment studies and annexes in accordance with the type of project and the endorsement and technical opinion of the Minister of the Sector endorsing that the project meets the regulations in force and is in line with sectoral strategies. With all the documentation the entities send their investment programs, duly registered in the BPIP and endorsed by the Investment Unit, to the Ministry of Finance and the General Comptroller of the Nation to be included in the budget. Immediately after, the Budget Bill by the Ministry of Finance is sent to the National Assembly for discussion and approval.
During the public investment program execution phase, the public entities and institutions register the physical-financial progress of the projects in the BPIP. Based on this information, each semester the MIDEPLAN’s assessment unit prepares the “Result Balance of the PNDIP”, which is available for consultation for transparency in the execution and progress of the public investment budget and of the PNDIP as a whole. This document is also used by the Ministry of Finance and the Comptroller to decision-making on the budget limits of the next cycle. Thanks to the platforms managed by MIDEPLAN’s investment unit, any interested person can monitor the execution of the public investment budget through the BPIP.
Latest update: October 20, 2022