Barrios want health rules enforced; Yaku returns from quarantine with concerns about funding; Options to finance IESS; Refinery goes to bid
Hola, Todos –
Otras cosas –
Titular – Ética y confianza, mensaje de Muñoz (Ethics and trust, message from Muñoz) – María Alejandra Muñoz was sworn in as Vice President yesterday. She was sworn in with only 30 people in attendance in the Assembly chambers including her family and various officials. She last served as the director of the Servicio Nacional de Aduana del Ecuador (Senae) and will be the 3d woman to serve as VP. She said that she would work for ethics and against corruption. <Not doing whatever Jorge Glas did would be a good start.>
Neighborhoods ask for more support – Controls about using masks and movilidad (mobility) are common in the Centro Histórico and along main streets, but not in the barrios in spite of the barrios being the most troublesome areas in terms of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. According to the “heat” maps of ECU-911, the largest number of crowds in the urban parishes are in San Sebastián and Yanuncay with El Valle as the rural parish with the most problems. The parish center is full of people while agents for control are scarce. In addition, there is no help in the form of food kits, medical brigades, or tests. In San Sebastián, informal sales are a problem, and because of the lack of controls, street vendors have multiplied. <Like rabbits? One fruit seller today becomes 10 a week later?> According to ECU-911, there were 108 curfew violations last month, mostly in Yanuncay and Totoracocha which was also had the most cases of people breaking quarantines. One neighbor complained that at night, the parks change into places to gather and drink. Some neighbors have become their own neighborhood caretakers with Whatsapp messages and on their neighborhood Facebook pages. The same thing has happened in El Salado in the Yanuncay parish where public parks and spaces are being taken care of by neighbors to reduce the risk of infections. All are asking for more official presence in the barrios.
Payment of IESS with OCP – The Gobierno owes $6,706,803,586 to IESS for arrears in its 40% contribution to the pension fund and return of IVA. One plan to cancel these debts is to transfer Government assets to the IESS such as the OCP (Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados – Heavy Crude Pipeline), and a percentage of mining royalties. These assets would generate income for the social security system. <So gringos can continue paying $70 something a month for health coverage instead of 17+% of their actual income?>
Registering for school -The Ministerio de Educación set up a platform at https://juntos.educacion.gob.ec/ to register students who are entering the sistema fiscal (public school system) for the first time. For those without internet access, 19 phone lines have been set up with hours from 8-18:00. <If you’re reading this, you have internet access and don’t need those phone numbers.> There is a schedule for registering: until 27/7 for Básica Superior; for Básica Media from 21-28/7; for Básica Elemental from 22-29/7; for Inicial II y Preparatoria from 23-30/7; and for Bachillerato from 24-31/7. All levels can register between 1 & 10/8.
Prefecto back at work – The prefecto of Azuay, Yaku Pérez, returned to work after an absence of 20 days to complete treatment and quarantine for Covid-19. Issues that had to be addressed on his return include a debt of about $44 million owed to the province by the Gobierno. The debt included $13 million in monthly transfers dating back to March, $22 million for acciones en las eléctricas (actions in electrics – whatever that might be) and $750K for the province’s portion of IVA. Pérez addressed complaints about nepotism, saying he has no family members working in the Prefectura and denied it on a case by case basis. He said he has asked for an audit by the Contraloría General del Estado (CGE – National Comptroller’s Office). He warned that Inv Metals which had to stop extractive activities in the watershed for Girón due a referendum, has moved to Cuenca where it is designing a pithead.
Esmeraldas refinery – The Ministry of Energy is preparing the bidding process to put the operation of the Refinería Esmeraldas into private hands by the end of the year. The winning company would fine tune what already exists <I think I remember pictures of it – the property has been cleared, but nothing is showing above ground.> and build a new high conversion refining train capable of producing fuels to the Euro 5 standard. <So those new buses in Cuenca will be able to get appropriate gas?>
Manufacturing of school uniforms suspended – The “Hilando el Desarrollo” program, has been suspended while the Ministerio de Educación decides how kids will return to classes. <On line in their pajamas?> Grade school kids in fiscales (public) and fiscomisionales (I never have been able to figure out what kind of school these are – they’re not private.) get free uniforms in this program. The kids get a kit with a sweater, 3 T-shirts and 2 pairs of plants that costs the government $26. The government contracts with craftspeople for the uniforms, and in Azuay, each business made 250 sets of uniforms. However, they have not been paid.
And that´s all for today so Hasta la semana próxima (whoopee – TGITh and my weekend is here) –