Lenin Moreno Becomes New Ecuador President, Vows to Increase Spending

Moreno has vowed to increase spending and open up a dialogue with the private sector, which was largely shunned by the former president.

Lenin Moreno

Lenin Moreno has been sworn in as the new president of Ecuador, with analysts speculating that he would carry on with the socialist policies of his predecessor, Rafael Correa.

In his inaugural address, Moreno has vowed to increase spending on subsidies and open up a dialogue with the private sector, which was largely shunned by the former president.

Some his new policy decisions include the launch of a social house-building program and the halving of administration costs.

Lenin Moreno, who narrowly defeated his conservative rival Guillermo Lasso in an April run-off, is facing a daunting task of reversing his country’s economic fortunes. The Andean country is feeling suffocated under a mountain of debt, borrowed mainly from China.

Moreno says his country’s foreign debt is ‘very expensive’ and that he would seek refinancing of the debt to dilute its pressure on the economy.

With oil prices dipping, Ecuador is quickly running short of foreign currency reserves to service its debt. The Andean country has to pay $6 billion in debt payments this year, according to Reuters.

Although he is talking of luring foreign investments and creating jobs, Lenin Moreno is dubbed as a protégé of Rafael Correa, and is surrounded by ideological loyalists of his left-wing political party.

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Soon after his election, he consulted with World Bank officials, seeking money to finance his predecessor’s ambitious social programs, including free education, healthcare, and housing for lower-income families.

Like many Latin American countries, Ecuador spends excessive money on social welfare programs and is heavily dependent of oil, which comprises about 40% of the country’s exports.

Moreover, its currency is the US dollar, adopted during an inflationary spiral and banking crisis 17 years ago.

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