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Ecuador to resume energy tenders suspended by COVID-19 pandemic

The government of Ecuador wants to resume energy tenders originally delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country will gradually restart activities from May 4 with a strategy of social distancing.

“The pandemic caused us to delay the processes. But the government wants to finalize them within this year,” energy and non-renewable natural resources minister René Ortiz told BNamericas.

According to the ministry, suspensions of tender processes average 45 days.

After a meeting with President Lenín Moreno, the minister said tenders will be resumed in a transparent manner, without resorting to direct awards.

“We are all interested in reopening [the processes]. Here the bidding, prequalification, qualification and selection of the best offers will work in all cases, which must include the payment of a cash bonus,” Ortiz emphasized.

The payments have become more urgent in the face of the fiscal difficulties the country is going through, aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis. According to the official, Ecuador’s natural resources, the industrial projects that will be put out to tender and the fact that the dollar is the local currency will be enough to attract the interest of investors, despite the uncertainty that could arise from next year’s presidential elections.

“Investors are level-headed and know how to deal with electoral processes. We’re going to resume all the projects that were suspended, but whose bidding rules and terms of reference are already ready,” he said.

In addition, the process would be resumed to select the operator of the 487-MW Sopladora hydro plant, managed by state-owned generation group Celec. The state will maintain ownership of the property but will grant the concession to a strategic partner.

According to Ortiz, in order to finalize the plans, it is important to reopen airports because those interested will want to visit the sites.