President Lenin Moreno has ordered a 10% reduction in salaries for 7,242 government workers, the sale of a presidential jet and hundreds of other assets owned by the government.
“The current economic situation requires the government implement strong austerity measures,” the president said in his Monday night national television broadcast. “We are asking the highest paid public employees to bear part of the burden of restoring health to the government budget and we thank them for their sacrifice.”
The president said he has asked all government agencies heads to provide an inventory of property owned, including real estate.
Moreno said money raised from the sale of one of two presidential aircraft, several luxury cars and a variety of other government owned property will be invested in Casa para Todos, a government program to provide housing for low income families.
Moreno, who submitted a new federal budget to the National Assembly on Tuesday, repeated an earlier pledge to protect the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population from budget cuts. “The impact of budget adjustments will fall on those best able to absorb them,” he said. “I will protect those in greatest need.”
In comments on Tuesday, Moreno said that an economic recovery has started but that it is weak. “We have to be absolutely honest about the country’s economic situation,” he said. “Yes, there are signs of growth but they are insubstantial at this point and we cannot assume the economy will recover on its own. The government must take the lead in belt-tightening effort.”