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President says Ecuadors oil dependence is down

13 de mayo de 2013 16:26

During his weekly broadcast, President Rafael Correa presented data he says proves his government isn’t as reliant on oil as it used to be.

Correa has boosted public spending to unseen levels, but opponents say he is building an economy that is overly dependent on the continued extraction of oil from the Amazon, coupled with a high barrel price in international markets.

On Saturday, Correa presented a graph titled “Participation of oil revenues in the general budget.” Citing the Ministry of Finance as a source, the graph shows what percentage of the state’s general budget was funded by oil revenues each year from 2000 to 2012.

The data for 2013 shows a sharp drop: from 20 percent in 2012 to 13.4 percent in 2013. However, a footnote says the 2013 data is projected, based on an initial preliminary budget for 2013 and an average price of the barrel of crude estimated to be $90.62.

Correa said during the same broadcast that although the oil business brings in $17 billion a year, only about $4 billion goes towards the state’s general budget: $1.5 billion goes straight to the Hydrocarbons Secretariat, $5 billion goes towards importing oil derivatives (mainly diesel, propane, and gasoline, which are heavily subsidized by the state), and $5 billion goes to the oil companies.

In February, when Correa also discussed his intention to reduce Ecuador’s reliance on oil exports, Mexico’s El Financiero reported (Sp) that Ecuador produces about 500,000 barrels of crude a day. 

Argentina’s El Clarín newspaper, in an article about Ecuador’s oil dependency, said that 60 percent of Ecuador’s exports are oil, 20 percent are products such as banana, coffee and cocoa, and only 20 percent are manufactured goods.

In July 2012, a Bloomberg article estimated however that 41 percent of government revenue is reliant on oil exports, and that the forecast for 2012 was a 9 percent jump in government spending, to $26 billion (36 percent of GDP).

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