The Minister of Social Inclusion, Esteban Bernal, who is also the one who leads the welfare sector (education, health care, work, housing and social inclusion), says that for President Guillermo Lasso, social policy is a priority. Budget implementation of the total budget set to December of $1,633 million should be 67.22% as of that date, but they are 62.68% ($1,032 million implemented). The difference has its explanations.
From this amount $1.633 million, the majority, about $1.237 million, goes to bonds for the various vulnerable sectors. They are the human development bonds for the disabled, pensions for the elderly, etc. There are also new bonuses such as those called “future childhood” which benefit pregnant mothers and are part of the campaign to fight child malnutrition. To date, $828 million in bonds have been delivered, a figure that represents 65.2% completion. The figure reveals that these resources are paid with extreme accuracy.
Minister Bernal assured that the bond amount is growing significantly. While $937 million was delivered in 2020, as early as 2021, with just over seven months of this government in office, $1.194 million was reached. Finally, $1.232 million will be delivered this year. The last number is useful 1,458,000 nuclear families in Ecuador. The number of beneficiaries is also over 1,237,000 which existed in May 2021 when the government started. The new “future childhood” bonus for expectant mothers benefits 69,000 families.
Meanwhile, about $281 million, a second segment of current costs, covers a series of items related to personnel costs, between administrative and territorial (those who work in the protection centers), goods and services, but also costs that must do with centers for child development, for the elderly, people with disabilities and special protection. It is that in this segment of social protection there are 17 different services provided by the ministry.
In 2017 child development centers serving 85,000 children. In addition, attention is paid to 210,000 children through the “We grow with our children” centers, which have 4,700 teachers located on the territory. Bernal recalls that the CDIs were opened 100 percent by presidential order, representing a $42 million effort. AndThis precisely allows the care of boys and girls from 12 months to 36 months, who can thus rely on games and educational care as well as nutritional care. “Four of the five most important meals of the day are delivered at CDI: breakfast, morning, lunch and afternoon,” he says.
A third item of $95.8 million is dedicated to investments, which are also related to new projects and payments related to the various social protection centers.
The implementation of the current expenditure budget is 63.68%, i.e. so far, $979 million has been transferred out of a total of $1.538 million. However, the investment element is 41.72%, out of $95.8 million, $39.9 million has been accumulated.
However welfare numbers are within expectations, he explains that there are always certain problems during implementation and gives examples. The expectant mothers program, which began in July, plans to serve 20,509 mothers, but in the first months it was not possible to contact all those identified. Currently, there are already about 18,700 contacted and is expected to continue to increase the number of beneficiaries. There are others that need to be evaluated and they are the issues that they are generated by the lack of liquidation programs that cooperators must comply with. These are third parties that can help expand care, but often delay the issue of liquidating resources. A mechanism has now been reached to speed up payments, but he cautions that there is a shared responsibility of donors (public or private) in this matter.
On the other hand, the minister says that in terms of education, the annual allocation has been increased by $534 million.
On the issue of execution in the field of health, he assures that President Guillermo Lasso and the Ministers of Health who occupied this portfolio have done an unimaginable job to break the entrenched mafias that do not allow control by the authorities, but that “You can’t just snap your fingers and solve this long-standing problem.” He believes that at this point the process of “nearby medicine” is already underway and believes that this will improve conditions.
But he also assures that humanitarian workers have similar problems in social care. It ensures they receive $214 million from the state to serve 460,000 beneficiaries. But control was uncertain. These reports were done through Excel or by hand, so it became almost impossible to verify the accuracy of the reports. Now there is a technology system made by the ministry which is already massed by 25% and allows technology and daily report. (YO)