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Ecuadorian mayors announce demonstrations over budgetary resources

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Ecuadorian mayors announce demonstrations over budgetary resources

Ecuador Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Municipal leaders in Ecuador intend to march today to demand the immediate transfer of funds owed by the central government to local authorities.

Local governments are owed close to $900 million in value-added tax devolution and other payments. Municipal authorities have claimed that they will be forced to cut essential services and workers beginning tomorrow if the central government does not cede the money. They have indicated a willingness to open dialogue with the administration of Lenin Moreno to ensure the payment of the money owed.

The march comes at a delicate time, with hospitals in the capital of Quito experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, mirroring the devastating outbreak that Guayaquil suffered earlier this year. Some municipal leaders have expressed concern about the optics of elected leaders gathering in public; they are urging their citizens to avoid the marches to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is unclear if the Moreno administration, already suffering from a precipitous loss in support, even has the funds to meet the debt. Should local governments be forced to cut services, there is a high likelihood of protests and social disruption, similar to what the country experienced last year.

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