Press Release: Press Statement by IMF First Deputy Managing Director in Ecuador on May 16, 2003
May 19, 2003
"I am very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Ecuador, together with Mr. Murilo Portugal, Executive Director for Ecuador at the IMF, and my colleagues Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department and Mr. Tom Dawson, Director of the External Relations Department at the Fund. We are joined by Mr. Bob Matthias Traa, mission chief to Ecuador, and Mr. DavidYuravlivker, our Resident Representative in Quito.
"We started our meetings only this morning, but we have already met with Minister Mauricio Pozo, Central Bank President MauricioYépez and with Ministers in the main economic and social areas. Also, President Lucio Gutiérrez kindly hosted a lunch for the delegation a few hours ago, where we had the opportunity to discuss key economic issues for the country. I have been very encouraged by the commitment shown by the President and his team to implement their economic program being supported by the IMF Stand-By Arrangement. While there have been delays in some policy areas under the program, we recognize the efforts being made to catch up and implement the program in full. The Fund mission now in Ecuador to undertake the first review of the program has made good progress and we are hopeful that agreement can be reached on a supplementary letter of intent shortly.
"We firmly believe that the government's program contains the right policies to move the economy forward. Cautious fiscal policies are needed to lower the debt and help bring interest rates down, while structural reforms will help to improve productivity and competitiveness. These policies are essential to strengthen the basis for sustained growth and low inflation consistent with dollarization, and making good progress towards poverty alleviation.
"In the course of our visit, we have also met the President of Congress and several of his colleagues, and are meeting representatives of broad segments of the Ecuadoran civil society as well, including the indigenous movements and the business community both in Quito and in Guayaquil. All these meetings have been very helpful for understanding the variety of views and opinions in this country. Ecuador is a country with rich natural and human resources and high growth potential. We in the Fund are committed to assisting Ecuador to achieve this potential, and improving the well being of all Ecuadorans."