The crisis facing the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS), recognized by its authorities on January 9, confirms the complaints that in recent years made members, retirees, workers and various social sectors about the negative effects of measures taken without support technical or financing.
Associations of retirees and workers, consulted by EL TELÉGRAFO, stated that the situation must be solved without harming members and pensioners. They warn mobilize. They do not agree, for example, with the possibility of reviewing the contribution rates or the retirement age, as part of the national dialogue convened by Paúl Granda, president of the IESS board of directors.
They demand that the State pay what corresponds to the contribution of 40% from 2015, eliminated in that year and restored in 2018 by the Constitutional Court. For this year, the Ministry of Finance will allocate $ 1,242 million for this item, from the $ 1,755 calculated by the Institute.
They also request that the money for medical benefits be canceled, the balances removed in 2015 and that the Comptroller’s Office ordered reinstatement in 2017. Another requirement is that Resolution 501, of 2015, which invested the contribution to the funds of pensions and health.
Finally, they request that the presidents of the board of directors, Ramiro González and Richard Espinosa, the members of the board of directors and directors-general be prosecuted. The National Confederation of Retirees and Pensioners of Montepío of Ecuador hopes that today, January 15, the IESS will respond positively to their demands, otherwise it will give way to an indefinite mobilization.
Manuel Muñoz, president of the Confederation, told this newspaper that on January 17 the decision will be taken at a national assembly in Quito and in which leaders from different associations and federations will participate. “That they do not oblige us to repeat what happened in 2004,” Muñoz warned, recalling the massive protest carried out nationwide by thousands of pensioners.
The numbers worry. The State owes the IESS about $ 3,000 million; there are losses in the purchase of medicines for $ 400 million; public officials owe the entity about $ 17 million, revealed Paul Granda.
On the other hand, the Institute adds $ 900 million in obligations to private clinics and hospitals; and $ 23 million to the Ministry of Health. The disinvestment of the pension fund is close to $ 5,000 million; and the health fund has serious liquidity problems.
Édison Lima, president of the Assembly of Retirees, Pensioners for Older Adults, echoes the warnings. “Our demands are for those who today work tomorrow to be able to retire with dignity and collect their money,” he said.
He mentioned that retirees have repeatedly insisted that measures be reverted without financing and that the administration of the Insurance be redirected. The unions will also join. Messiah Tatamuez, president of the Ecuadorian Confederation of Workers’ Class Organizations, added that one must investigate how much and how the money was spent in the construction of works and acquisition of equipment because they were resources that caused the millionaire disinvestment of the pension fund.
Tatamuez is one of the 14 members of the citizen oversight committee formed by the Comptroller’s Office in June 2018 to accompany the 27 special examinations that audit Social Security management since 2012. “The revelations found so far are alarming,” the official said. That will not allow modifying the contributions to the IESS as a mechanism to face the crisis.
On Monday, January 14, in Public Radio, Paúl Granda clarified that any decision in this regard “is not unilateral of the representative of the Executive”, since the Board of Directors is tripartite (State, workers and employers). “We must discuss with absolute transparency (…) there must not necessarily be an increase in the amount of contribution, there may be other measures that we are already taking in the short term,” said the head of Social Security.
Complaint to Rafael Correa
Henry Llanes, of the Assembly of Retirees, Pensioners and Older Adults, sued former President Rafael Correa for allegedly undermining the Social Security patrimony. According to the complainant, the material damage caused during Correa’s administration reaches $ 15,000 million and is due to decisions such as withdrawing the 40% state contribution. (I)