LatinNews Daily - 21 May 2021

In brief: Private sector set to play key role in Ecuador’s recovery

* The ministerial cabinet of Ecuador’s president-elect, Guillermo Lasso, who takes office on 24 May, has announced plans to give the private sector a significant role in Ecuador’s economic recovery. Speaking at the ‘transition dialogues’ event, which featured speakers from Lasso’s cabinet and that of outgoing President Lenín Moreno, incoming finance minister, Simón Cueva, indicated a significant shift away from the more centralised approach that has predominated under Moreno and his predecessor, Rafael Correa (2007-2017). Cueva said that “there are activities in which the state could give more space to the private sector”, which would enable the cash-strapped public sector to “achieve its fundamental goal, which is to provide basic services to the population and support those most in need”. Lasso made similar comments, arguing that public-private alliances are the only means of carrying out public works programmes given Ecuador’s fiscal difficulties. He also highlighted the need for greater economic opening and structural reforms, noting that “nobody invests in an expensive country, nor one that is inefficient or whose government isn’t aware of the need to improve productivity”. Outgoing finance minister, Mauricio Pozo, said that the government expected the deficit to fall to US$3.9bn in 2021, after reaching US$7bn in 2020 amidst the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.