A story of entrepreneurs who leave their mark


A story of entrepreneurs who leave their mark

The National Council for the Private Sector, CONEP is the most important business association in the country, responsible for promoting a social movement committed to the defense of the sector and the national economy.
The National Council for the Private Sector, CONEP was founded in 1963 as the result of the First Great Business Convention. Throughout its history it has represented a business sector that has significantly contributed to boosting the development process of the Dominican Republic. It has aided in job creation, channeling investments, promoting reforms and decisively supporting social initiatives of great public and institutional impact. The collective action of the entrepreneurship has contributed to the advances of our democracy, having played starring roles in important moments and processes of the democratic history.
CONEP´s labor is marked by an entrepreneurial path resulting from empowerment and participation of generations of entrepreneurs who have faithfully followed the purposes of those who began this journey in 1963. Throughout its over 53 years, to date, it has succeeded in attaining agreements and pacts among the productive sectors, civil society and the state, namely with the main leaders of our national life, seeking to define the path to achieve a clear horizon for the development of the country.
The main challenge assumed by CONEP is to create the conditions so the present and future generations are able to develop new initiatives for entrepreneurship and innovation that contribute to improve productivity and national competitiveness. Their efforts have been permanently aimed at creating a new social paradigm that is transparent and cooperative, founded on the basis of a democratic and participative society.
The half-century of the life of CONEP is a reflection of the struggles, challenges and conquests of the main Dominicans economic sectors. This association was conceived as a need of the main companies around the country that understood the importance of organizing as a sector in a body that brings together the agricultural, industrial, commercial producers and the private financial sector to participate actively in the new born democracy of Dominican Republic.
Over time, the business community has developed a communication and a modern and open democratic practice. This understanding that to ensure their investment, an organized society with a clear respect for the Constitution and laws is needed.
In 2013 the National Council for the Private Sector, CONEP, celebrated its 50th anniversary of foundation and since its beginning it has formed an essential part of the economic and political life of the country.
Throughout this time, the entrepreneurship has shown clear signs of unique activism; and today this business association looks ahead to a number of challenges for the future of the Dominican society.
One of the most important events for CONEP throughout these 50 years has been the Business Convention, because besides analyzing current problems, fundamental principles that have given purpose to the institution in its role as the largest and most important representation of the Dominican business are restated.
CONEP´s response to situational demands has always sought agreement, dialogue and cooperative participation of all social sectors. CONEP is committed to a labor reform, a law on social security and immigration, work training and orientation to national development objectives. Furthermore, it has made a clear commitment to entrepreneurship, innovation, SMEs and business growth.
CONEP is dedicated to the simplification of the taxation system, analysis of the monetary and financial system, pensions and capital market, land management and review of energy policies that go beyond the electrical pact. In addition, engaged to the environment and sustainability, creating active policies for productive development and infrastructure, making the Dominican Republic a transport, logistics connectivity and fair attraction Hub, and finally, reinforcing the country brand.

CONEP assumes great challenges

CONEP has clearly taken on the task of leading the strengthening of the free initiative and the vision of the business sector, and throughout its institutional life has undertaken the mission of meeting the demands of society and the public interest, by strongly collaborating towards building of a democratic State and actively participating as an agent of change and transformation in the consolidation of democracy and its institutions. All of the before mentioned, to promote economic and social development of the Dominican nation as a whole.
During this time CONEP has defended the rights of its members with a greater presence and involvement in matters of public interest along with the civil society. The current reality of the country represents an opportunity to make significant contributions by collaborating in the approach to major challenges the nation faces, suggesting how to do it; including the solidarity and responsibility of the business sector in the implementation of decisions and actions agreed.
Various tasks assumed by CONEP are related to business management; while others can be considered from a social, political and institutional perspective, but all of them together are significant to contribute to the full development of the country.
50 years ago DR was a predominantly agricultural and rural economy, favorably impacted by the process of substitution of imports and focused on exports of sugar, coffee and cocoa. Today we can observe the development of tourism, a wide production of manufactured goods and finished products in the Free Zones and mining, coupled with the recent growth in exports of non-traditional items such as organic cocoa, avocado, various types of vegetable and banana. These are accompanied by the development of telecommunications, the extraordinary growth of the financial sector and the recent innovations in logistics and connectivity. With these as evidence, we are beholding the birth of a national economy that is based on services, not on production, which characterizes the main trend for the future.
Among the challenges, related to corporate management is the creation of formal jobs, as informality in the labor market represents 65% of the employed population. Therefore CONEP proposed the signing of the Pact for Formal Employment which requires a series of reforms needed to achieve the transformation of the economic model that all sectors demand and that is the main cause of the predominance of informal employment over the formal.
One of the great challenges faced by the country is management of the public debt, and although it is the responsibility of the Government; the most concerned and important sectors of national life must express their interest and demand better management of public finances. In this situation the Fiscal Pact, referred to in the National Development Strategy can be an opportunity to attain agreements not only concerning income, but also the expenses, to reduce the chronic budget deficit that will decrease the pressure towards the granting of new loans and providing the government with resources to make the investments that the country needs. That is why one of CONEP´s main priorities is the integral tax reform of the country.
The fight against poverty and greater social equity is a national challenge that is on CONEP´s agenda. Not only as a matter of social justice, a principle defended by the organization since its foundation, but also because an increase in the purchasing power of those who do not have it now, translates into an increase in demand for goods and services.
The decline in poverty to greater levels of social equality certainly passes with the increase of formal jobs, and better public services. The most suitable approach to achieve this is through efficient and effective public policies that result in proper human development by expanding opportunities and the possibilities of the people.
At the political level, Dominican Republic presents some challenges that need to be faced to preserve the system of governance, to manage that institutions of the political system accomplish their functions properly and therefore reach higher quality in democracy. This is also one of the tasks undertaken by CONEP. Additionally, it is necessary to strengthen the rule of law and the full enjoyment of rights beyond its use in legal texts, in both the Constitution and the laws.
The conscious sectors of society must undertake and demand an institutional revolution in the structure of the State, not only to reduce its operation expenses, but also to be more efficient. At this point CONEP must maintain this demand as one of its priorities to continue its course and face all the challenges that the future will present not only to this business organization but also to the country.