Ecuador names economist Pozo as finance minister after Martinez resigns

Adds comments from new finance minister

QUITO, Oct 7 (Reuters)Ecuador on Wednesday named economist Mauricio Pozo as the Andean country’s finance minister to replace Richard Martinez, who resigned after carrying out a successful bond restructuring plan and negotiating a loan with the International Monetary Fund.

Pozo, who previously served as finance minister from 2003 to 2004 under President Lucio Gutierrez, said he will focus on economic reactivation and strengthening Ecuador’s dollarization.

“I want to promote dialogue on the reforms that the country needs,” Pozo said during an event with Martinez and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno. “The country is in an adjustment process and it is only fair that it also have a recovery process.”

Martinez, who is leaving to work for the Inter-American Development Bank, recently completed a $6.5 billion financing agreement with the IMF. He also led the renegotiation of some $17.4 billion in sovereign bonds and won an agreement to defer the payment of principal on loans from Chinese banks.

The oil-exporting nation faces liquidity problems due to the fall in crude prices and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new minister will have to design tax reform that will include tax increases and will have to be presented to the legislature by the next government, according to the program agreed upon with the IMF. He will also present a proposal to restore autonomy to the country’s central bank and a law to combat corruption.

Ecuadoreans in February are set to vote for a new president and a new congress.

Ecuador’s Moreno says IMF board approves $6.5 billion loan

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Will Dunham)

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