Paraguayan lorry drivers have vowed to ease down their road-blocking measures after they were promised a reduction in the price of fuel.
After a meeting Friday afternoon in Asunción at the National Congress building, the drivers announced they would relax their protests, but would nonetheless remain on strike until a final agreement is reached.
Senate Speaker Óscar Salomón said an agreement had been reached and assured negotiators were pleased with the promise of a total reduction of G. 1,000 (US$ 0.14) per liter in the price of diesel and 93-octane naphtha.
Until the agreement is reached, the truckers will continue to be stationed on the side of the road, but they ruled out going as far as the city of Asunción. A group of drivers also opposes fuel subsidies.
”This agreement we reached, which is going to be rectified with a law, is going to require other meetings with the private emblems (brands). They are satisfied, they promised not to block the roads, some are going to camp on the side of the road, Salomón went on.
The measure will be in force for a period of 60 days. We have reached almost 90% of the consumption and in these values, we consider that we are going to alleviate the concern, he added.
Meanwhile, Paraguay's Trucker Federation leader Ángel Zaracho insisted the strike would continue until what has been agreed with the authorities is fulfilled. We are going to wait for the law, the strike is not lifted with the announcement of the reduction of G. 1,000. What this announcement does is to cool down the situation a little, but yes or yes we are going to wait and make the corresponding decision,” he insisted.
The proposals will have to be analyzed thoroughly, after which they will be put up for Congressional approval.
Truck driver unions had warned they would besiege Asunción starting next week if the Government did not agree to their demands, while unionists of the state-run oil company Petropar spoke of closing the Villa Elisa plant as of Monday, to push for a takeover of the local fuel market.
The government had proposed a loan of US$ 100 million for the creation of a price buffering fund, but the measure was strongly rejected in the Senate.