Maintaining the State is expensive. The alternative of concessioning public companies and other entities arises, in part, from the expenses that were inherited from the government of former President Rafael Correa. Companies such as CNT and electricity companies Celec and CNEL are home to more than 20,388 employees.
Santiago Cuesta, counselor to President Lenín Moreno, has mentioned the three institutions as the first to move to the private sector.
Before the announcement, the workers of CNT requested, yesterday, information to the authorities. They expect that, if the temporary transfer to the private sector takes place, acquired rights will be maintained, such as the collective agreement, years of service and other benefits. Above all, union leaders say, they hope to have work stability.
The same can be concluded in other entities that are mentioned in the concession speech. Last week, EXPRESO published an interest on the part of the directory of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) for concessioning the health system. That is, hospitals and medical centers that, according to the latest reports from the institution, are underutilized due to lack of control of the public sector.
In total, the IESS has more than 27,000 doctors and health professionals on its payroll. A number that generates expenses that month after month should cover Social Security despite its economic crisis.
Felipe Pezo, member of the Board of IESS on behalf of employers, believes that the private sector can deal with the costs generated by the health system because it will be a more orderly and productive administration. Schedules and work days will be reviewed to balance loads and not to underuse neither the facilities nor the hired personnel.
In the Esmeraldas Refinery there is a similar case. The Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Carlos Pérez, said that there is the possibility of concessioning the plant to a transnational company such as Shell. He assured, at the beginning of last month, that there are conversations and that the private company analyzes the convenience of the operation. He assured that it is not a sale of assets, but a temporary concession where the State maintains the property of the refiner.
This newspaper consulted more details of the operation but, until the closing of this edition, it did not have an answer.
The latest statistical report by state oil company Petroecuador shows that the company had between January and December 2018, with more than 1,258 employees in the refining area. This represents an increase of 1.70% with respect to the number of workers in 2017.
In the count, the employees of Esmeraldas and other smaller plants are taken into account.
Cuesta mentioned – when EXPRESO published the concessions option in October – that the transfer operation to the private sector will generate advantages for all. Workers, for example, will be paid annually for utilities, something they do not receive as a public entity. The Government, on the other hand, will relieve your expenses, obtain immediate liquidity and even receive more taxes.
The staff is maintained
Public companies and other state entities, despite the austerity decree of September 2017, have not reduced the number of workers. In all the state apparatus, according to data from Santiago Cuesta, some 20,000 employees were increased.
He told EXPRESO that the payroll grew because more doctors and teachers were hired to strengthen the work in social sectors developed by the Government. (I)