The strongest measure that President Lenin Moreno has taken in his 18 months of government. The decision to raise extra gasoline and Ecopaís from $ 1.48 to $1.85 per gallon is part of the economic measures announced yesterday at the Government Palace by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Richard Martinez.
“The situation of the country’s economy is unsustainable,” the Secretary of State justified when announcing the decision. He affirmed that what is sought is to give stability to the economy and that the economic growth of the country be maintained.
He commented that the previous governments, which maintained the subsidy, had to get into debt. “There are now 60,000 million dollars for pending pay mentsthat the Ecuadorian State has accumulated. If ours does not act on these problems, we will not have money for schools or the public sector,”Martinez said.
“By mandate of President Lenin Moreno we have decided to put an end to these absurdities as the subsidies that generate black markets, inefficiency and prevent us from complying with social obligations. The National Government has decided to reduce the subsidy to extra gasoline and Ecopaís, which will go from1.48 to 1.85 dollars, that is to say 37 additional cents per gallon, “he continued.
He clarified that the diesel for public transport and domestic gas (LPG) will not be modified. In addition, as a measure of efficiency and transparency, the importation of diesel will be released, so that the export sectors that today receive a benefit will not be affected.
He said that the savings that the State will have with the increase in the price of fuel will be 400 million dollars per year.
It was not the only announcement. The Minister of Labor, Raúl Ledesma, insisted on the issue of austerity, “which starts at home.” He indicated that it has been decided to lower the salaries of state ministers by 10%, which means that in the current government the salary has been reduced by 20%.
Meanwhile,those at the top hierarchical level are reduced by 5% from scale 3 (at the moment they earn $ 2,368 monthly).
The definitive elimination of 25,000 vacant items was also reported and the number of advisors will be reduced. The expected savings is 300 million dollars per year.
How will these money be used? The private secretary of the Presidency, Juan Sebastián Roldán, explained that it has been decided that the savings that will be generated by these measures (400 million dollars for the increase of gasoline and 300 million for administrative measures, in total 700 million dollars) go to a sub-account of the National Treasury Account, for specific issues.
President Lenin Moreno has made it clear that this account serves exclusively for four issues:”protect dollarization, protect health services of social security, meet the payment of pensions for retirees, and provide credits and relieve the burden of indebtedness of the middle class, “he said.
Roldán specified that the mortgage loan portfolio will be restructured through Banco del Pacífico, increasing terms from five to ten years. Through the Banco del Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social (Biess), BanEcuador and the Corporación Financiera Nacional (CFN) will promote loans with preferential interest rates for new ventures.
In addition, the Ministry of Finance will have the obligation to publish a detailed report that identifies the source and use at the deconcentrated operating unit level.
The authorities did not specify when the adopted measures will take effect. The decrees are expected to be signed between Thursday and Friday, when it will be specified from which date the gasoline price rises.
“Tour was fruitful for the country”
Three days after touring China and Qatar, Foreign Minister José Valencia called it”positive and fruitful.”
“The purposes sought were achieved,” the foreign minister said, noting that with China the memorandum of understanding was signed by which Ecuador joined the multi-billion dollar Chinese investment project known as the New Silk Routes.
The Ministry of the Interior of Ecuador signed an agreement with the Ministry of Public Security of China for the exchange of information, training and police training. “In addition, technical cooperation agreements were signed on issues of risk management and emergencies, in the same way between the CivilAviation Directorates of the two countries.”
While in Qatar, the Foreign Minister indicated that the implementation of two agreements in the field of culture and airport management will be strengthened in the future.
Oswaldo Erazo, executive secretary of the National Chamber of Petroleum Derivatives Distributors of Ecuador, said it would have been better if the increase was gradual, 5 cents a month, so that it would not be a blow for the people.
The opposition politicians said they were against the rise in fuel prices. They consider that with this measure the “harmed again becomes the people”. However, they estimate that this is due to “the waste”of the previous government.
The different organizations of the Workers’ Unity Front (FUT) rejected the increaseof fuels. Criticize the fact that other measures have not been sought, such as recovering the “stolen” money in the last decade. (I)