Country Listing

Uruguay Table of Contents


Autonomous Entities

The performance of the autonomous entities ( autonomous agencies or state enterprises; see Glossary), which played a central role in Uruguay's economic development, was an even greater issue. Most of the autonomous entities were industrial or utility companies; others were service related (see table 14, Appendix). The two largest autonomous entities were also the two largest companies in Uruguay: the National Administration of Fuels, Alcohol, and Portland Cement (Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol, y Portland--ANCAP) and the National Administration for the Generation and Transmission of Electricity (Administración Nacional de Usinas y Transmisiones Eléctricas-- UTE). In 1988 ANCAP, whose primary activity was refining and distributing imported crude oil, grossed US$470 million, had profits of US$12 million, and employed 6,700 workers; UTE grossed US$285 million, had profits of US$12 million, and employed almost 12,000 workers. (Based on their 1988 gross earnings, ANCAP and UTE were the 113th and 242d largest companies in Latin America, respectively.) Other important autonomous entities (and monopolies) included the National Administration of Ports (Administración Nacional de Puertos--ANP; another name for the Montevideo Port Authority), the National Telecommunications Administration (Administración Nacional de Telecomunicaciones-- ANTEL), and the State Railways Administration (Administración de los Ferrocarriles del Estado--AFE).

The Sanguinetti government's policy toward the state enterprises had two aspects. First, the government planned to invest US$1 billion in public-sector projects during the 1987-89 period, raising government investment from 2.9 percent of GDP in 1986 to 5 percent of GDP in 1987-89. This target was not met, however. Public investment in 1987 and 1988 increased only to 3.1 percent and 3.4 percent of GDP, respectively, because of the need to restrain spending. Second, the government planned to improve the fiscal health of the state enterprises, many of which were running deficits. A combination of utility rate increases and spending cuts (but no significant cuts in employment) made most state enterprises profitable by the late 1980s, easing the public-sector deficit slightly.

Data as of December 1990