Economy

Ecuador annuls austerity decree, restores fuel subsidy

Decree 833 will be replaced with a new one that contains mechanisms to focus resources on who needs it most, said President Lenín Moreno

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 16 October 2019
Protesters against Ecuador's austerity decree. Photo: Heisenberg/Twitter
Protesters against Ecuador's austerity decree. Photo: Heisenberg/Twitter Protesters against Ecuador's austerity decree. Photo: Heisenberg/Twitter

Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno on October 13, 2019 repealed an austerity measure that scrapped fuel subsidies, ending nearly two weeks of demonstrations that paralysed the economy and left several dead, the media reported.

Moreno had, on October 1, announced the ‘Decree 883’ economic austerity package, which cut subsidies and imposed labour reforms.

According to Moreno, the subsidies, introduced in the 1970s, were costing the country’s economy $1.3 billion annually, and discontinuing them would help them secure $4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, The Washington Post reported.

However, the announcement was met with stiff resistance from indigenous people. It sparked violent street demonstrations for 11 days — roads were blocked, businesses from dairies to flower farms shut down. They also temporarily halted Ecuador’s oil production.

Besides reinstating subsidies, the protestors also demanded an end to oil and mining extraction.

The decree was annulled late Sunday evening, after a public dialogue between Moreno and indigenous leaders was mediated by the United Nations and the Catholic Church.

It was necessary to restore order and peace in the country, Moreno tweeted on October 15.

He added that Decree 833 will be replaced with “a new one that contains mechanisms to focus resources on who needs it most”, the Washington Post said.

The rollback of Decree 833 is being viewed as a great victory for indigenous people in the country.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nations, which led the protests, thanked Moreno for repealing the Decree 833 and emphasised the need for an improved long-term conditions for the indigenous people in the country, The Guardian reported.

“We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this country. We don’t want more repression,” Jaime Vargas, president of the group was quoted as saying.

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