Strike costs the country at least $1.3 billion, most of it in the private sector, government reports

Jul 5, 2022 | 46 comments

The 18-day indigenous strike cost the country at least $1.3 billion, according to the Finance Ministry. The figure is preliminary and will probably go higher as more information is collected from private businesses and services, the Ministry says.

The Transportation Ministry spent an estimated $9 million clearing roadblocks left from the indigenous strike.

The amount counts all loses, public and private, and includes repair estimates for damage caused during the strike, primarily in Quito.

The largest losses, according to Production Minister Julio José Prado, are in the private sector, where losses of exports and local sales total $775, and in oil production, where an estimated $280 million in royalties were lost. The biggest export losses were for cut flowers, bananas and appliances.

For in-country products and services, the largest losses were in the poultry, dairy, agricultural products and tourist industries. Among agricultural products that were thrown away due to transportation blockages were 20 million eggs, 11 million cut chickens and 18 million liters of milk.

According to Prado, the losses will increase the price of milk, eggs and chicken for two to three months. “These are losses that must be recovered by the industry and, unfortunately, the costs will be reflected in the market,” he said.

Other private sector losses were reported for pharmaceutical products, agricultural supplies such as fertilizer and seeds, and paper products.

Prado said that losses would have been greater if it had not been for humanitarian flights that transported a total of 143 tons of medicine, food and other products to Quito, Cuenca, Riobamba and Ambato. He thanked Latam and Aeroregional airlines for their service, adding that the Ecuadorian, Colombian and Brazilian air forces also provided flights.

“Our main priority today is to assist in the economic reactivation of the industrial and service sectors affected by the 18 days of disruption from the strike,” Prado said. “We will announce assistance measures in the coming days and will focus not only on the production chain but on the employees who work in it.”

According to President Guillermo Lasso’s press office, infrastructure damage from the strike amounts to at least $35 million, most of it in Quito. Oil production facilities sustained an estimated $7 million in damages, the office says.

The press office estimates that the Transportation and Public Works Ministry spent about $9 million to clear roadblocks from public roads, most of it going for employee overtime pay.

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