Ecuador and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have launched official talks about potential financial assistance for funds to cover the budget deficit and pay debt holders.
“We are now in formal discussions with representatives of the government of Ecuador regarding providing assistance to the country,” Gerry Rice, chief IMF spokesperson, said on Tuesday. “The focus of the talks is to find ways to strengthen the economy of Ecuador by creating growth and jobs as well as to continue the fight against corruption and to strengthen dollarization.”
In a separate statement on Wednesday, President Lenin Moreno’s office released a statement saying that the IMF had agreed to Ecuador’s insistence that social programs supporting the poor and disadvantaged populations be maintained if the IMF decides to provide loans.
“We have made it clear to the IMF that current budget items that protect our most vulnerable citizens are not open for negotiation,” the statement said. Historically, the IMF has insisted that the entire budget of countries seeking financial help be part of negotiations.
Ecuador’s statement continued: “Our interest is to secure long-term financing that will allow the country to save money on interest costs, thus preserving existing revenues to maintain our national priorities, including continued reduction of the poverty level and providing services to the disabled.”
An IMF technical team is in Ecuador making assessments of the country’s infrastructure and social programs.