The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), makes a presentation this Tuesday at the Executive Tower on the macroeconomic situation and perspectives of Uruguay
Minister Azucena Arbeleche stated that the estimated growth of the economy was 4.5% in 2021, above what was initially projected in the Rendering of Accounts of 3.5%. The final data will be published in March by the Central Bank of Uruguay (BCU).
In the fourth quarter, the growth of the manufacturing industry stands out, and the exports of goods that were record last year and totaled US$ 11,550 million. To this is added the slaughter of cattle and the sale of vehicles, among other indicators. “These are some early indicators that show that activity has been very dynamic in the fourth quarter and throughout 2021,” said the minister.
According to the minister, “That increased activity” translated into increased employment and that “is good news,” he said. Last year, 80% of the jobs lost in 2020 due to the pandemic were recovered. An average of 48,500 jobs were created during the year. Arbeleche also highlighted the drop in the number of unemployment insurance beneficiaries and added that 80% of those who stopped receiving the benefit were rehired.
On the other hand, he pointed out that in the first half of 2021 the number of poor people was reduced by 50 thousand people. “This is the product of the greater activity that we are estimating (4.5%), of the greater employment and of the focused measures that have been given by the Executive Power to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
Arbeleche added that poverty was reduced more in households that are “headed by women” and that this “is due to the targeting” of support given to children. “That has also reduced poverty more in childhood, in children between 0 and 6 years old,” she said. The final data will be known next month.
“In 2019 we had almost 43 thousand children in poverty and in the first half of 2021 just under 39 thousand children. “A little more than 4,000 stopped being in that vulnerable situation,” she assured.
The minister reported that in 2021 social transfers totaled US$502 million, with a real variation of 25% compared to 2020. “If we add other social support such as that given for shelters and food, which are not necessarily made through Mides we have to add an additional US$50 million”.
In addition, he pointed out that through the National System of Guarantees (FOLLOW) 11,000 loans were guaranteed for almost US$ 378 million, and some 9,000 companies were supported. Most of them are micro, small and medium.
Regarding investment incentives, he said that between 2020 and 2021 the projects presented totaled US$4.5 billion. These are initiatives that have yet to materialize.
According to Arbeleche, history shows that around 70% are finalized in the next two years after they are presented. It is estimated that some 7,000 jobs will be created in this way, of which three quarters would correspond to commerce and services.
Last year extraordinary spending through the Coronavirus Fund was US $ 1,153 million, above the US$727 million executed in 2020. Of the total, US$448 million were allocated to health measures, US$293 million to social support measures, and US$412 million to economic and employment measures. “The number was increasing and it was safe to tell the public that all the resources necessary to get through the pandemic would be available,” said the minister.
On this point, Arbeleche explained that although there was more spending to “Attending to the needs of the population, all fiscal commitments were met.”
The fiscal result of the Central Government-BPS stood at 4.2% of GDP, below the 4.9% that had been estimated in the Rendering of Accounts. “This is already measured in terms of the new product that we estimate grew 4.5%,” he said.