El Salvador Table of Contents
Municipal buses, San Salvador
Courtesy Inter-American Development Bank
In El Salvador in the late 1980s, there were nine state-owned companies, the most important of were public utility companies, such as CEL, Antel, ANDA, IRA, and the Autonomous Executive Port Commission (Comision Ejecutiva Portuaria Autonoma--CEPA). IRA, which operated under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, was responsible for marketing imported or domestic foodstuffs, such as corn, rice, beans, and powdered milk. Some of these foods were sold in government stores at subsidized prices. The state also owned shares of the cement and textile industries. The establishment of the two state-owned marketing companies, Incafe and Inazucar, expanded the public sector significantly and increased public revenue at the expense of coffee and sugar producers.
Most state-owned companies turned a profit in the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1983, for example, state-sector profits increased from 0.8 percent to 1.7 percent of GDP. Some stateowned companies, however, tended not to adjust prices during inflationary periods. IRA regularly incurred large deficits by trying to provide affordable foodstuffs. IRA's deficits were generally covered by the central government. Most other stateowned companies financed their deficits abroad, or through loans from the Central Reserve Bank.
Data as of November 1988