Quito, August 24 (teleSUR-RHC)-- A $800 million cut to Ecuador’s national budget will not touch government social programs or decentralized governments, according to Finance Minister Fausto Herrera. Speaking over the weekend on Citizen’s Link, Ecuador’s weekly presidential TV show, Herrera explained many social services were protected from the cost-saving measure he announced last week. “The cuts will not affect government social programs,” said Herrera, adding that President Rafael Correa instructed them to “not touch a cent” of the budgets of the Decentralized Autonomous Governments (GADS) and town councils. The minister confirmed that building works already in progress will not be delayed this year. Projects as the hydroelectric plants under construction will begin functioning in 2016 as planned and will represent “a saving of some $760,” said Vice President Jorge Glas. The Ecuadorean government opted to cut $100 million in daily expenditures and $700 in investments in light of the recent drop in the price of oil, the country’s main export. The current market stands at under $40 a barrel. Appreciation of the dollar with the devaluation of currencies from neighboring countries like Colombia and Brazil, has made exports appear more expensive and imports cheaper, also damaging Ecuador’s financial landscape. Natural events including increased volcanic activity in Cotopaxi and the forthcoming “El Niño” weather phenomenon have also caused the government to tighten its purse strings and “optimize public spending.” Herrera explained that spending on assets and non-essential services, like consultancy, and certain building works, will be rolled back.
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