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LatinNews Daily - 17 December 2020

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In brief: Ecuador passes anti-corruption reform to secure IMF credit

* Ecuador’s national assembly has approved an anti-corruption reform that will allow the government to access a US$2bn disbursement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the second instalment of the US$6.5bn emergency credit agreement signed in September. President Lenín Moreno has confirmed that he will promulgate the bill, which implements new controls on public sector procurement fraud and private sector corruption, most notably by boosting the powers of the comptroller’s office. This is the first of five structural adjustment reforms requested by the IMF as part of the credit agreement, although it is the only one of the five expected to be completed before Moreno leaves office following the February 2021 general election. Some of the other conditions – reducing the fiscal deficit, increasing international reserves, boosting central bank autonomy and transparency, and expanding the ‘human development bond’ social protection scheme – are likely to prove more controversial than the anti-corruption law, and could be a significant point of contention as the election draws closer.