Struggling Ecuador Announces Major Budget Cuts
HAVANA TIMES – Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Tuesday announced spending cuts worth 4 billion dollars as the country struggles with one of Latin America’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks, reports dpa news.
“The country has never faced such a serious situation,” Moreno said on television. He said 150,000 people had lost their jobs and that the pandemic would cost the state 8 billion dollars.
The oil-producing country has also been hit by the fall in global oil prices.
The new measures include lower fuel prices and keeping them under control, Moreno said. Fuel price hikes sparked weeks of violent protests and forced the government to cancel the measure last year.
Civil servants’ working day will be reduced to 6 hours from 8 hours.
Ten public companies and five embassies will be closed.
Ecuador is also renegotiating its public debt and expects to save 1.3 billion dollars in interest payments.
The South American country has confirmed 34,151 Covid-19 infections and 2,839 deaths.
The pandemic has overwhelmed Ecuador’s health and funerary services, leaving bodies lying on the streets of Guayaquil and families waiting for days for bodies to be picked up from home.