Ecuador needs money to finance infrastructure projects and the government believes the private sector is where they will find it. “The national budget can no longer support the projects that the country needs and we are looking to establish public-private partnerships to attract funding,” says Gabriel Martínez, Minister of Transportation and Public Works.
Martínez was one of the officials who accompanied President Lenin Moreno on this week’s trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials. In addition, Martínez met with several private investors in hopes of soliciting funding for a variety of infrastructure projects.
“In the last decade, government infrastructure investment has dropped from a billion dollars a year to $340 million in 2019,” Martínez says. “We need to use existing funds for repair and maintenance but need private partners to pursue new projects.” He blamed the drop in revenue on the collapse of oil prices and the increased demands of debt payment. He added that corruption and poor project management during the Rafael Correa presidential administration has added to current demands.
“At this point, my ministry is in a situation where private funding is critical to the major construction projects that the country desperately needs,” Martínez adds.
Among the projects that the public works ministry hopes to fund is the Quito Metroférico, upgrades to ports in Guayaquil, Esmeraldas and Manta, a new highway connecting Loja and Catamayo, a Guayaquil viaduct, expansion of the Manta airport, and the installation of more security cameras and photoradar units throughout the country.
“These partnership projects will be structured as concessions,” Martínez says. “We are not talking about privatizing public assets that belong to the people of Ecuador.