Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno on Monday officially signed a decree reversing his own law to cut fuel subsidies after more than a week of increasingly violent protests against the measure, Reuters reported. Moreno said fuel prices will revert to prior levels until a new measure can be agreed upon that will be perceived as more fair to poor sectors of the Andean nation’s society while thwarting fuel smugglers, who sell the subsidized fuel abroad. The government and indigenous leaders on Sunday agreed to work on a new subsidy formula that helps vulnerable groups to afford fuel and public transportation.
Nationwide strikes, led by indigenous groups, labor unions and social activists, had crippled the country’s vital oil sector, costing Moreno’s government at least $100 million in oil income, according to the report. Energy Minister Carlos Pérez told reporters he expected oil production to get back to normal “in about 15 days.” The longstanding fuel subsidy costs state coffers some $1.4 billion in revenue annually. In related news, Moreno’s government announced that, effective today, a previously announced 32 percent increase in public transport rates would revert to prices in place before Oct. 9, El Comercio reported.
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