This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs' Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to
Last Published: 8/3/2017

El Salvador  successfully liberalized many sectors where the government previously exerted monopoly control, effectively limiting most forms of direct competition from state-owned enterprises.  El Salvador maintains state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in energy production, water supply and sanitation, ports and airports, and the national lottery.

While energy distribution was privatized in 1999, the Salvadoran Government maintains significant energy production facilities through state-owned Rio Lempa Executive Hydroelectric Commission (CEL), a significant producer of hydro-electric and geothermal energy. The primary water service provider is the National Water and Sewer Administration (ANDA), which provides services to 40 percent of the total population of El Salvador.  As an umbrella institution, ANDA defines policies, regulates and provides services.  The Autonomous Executive Port Commission (CEPA) operates both the ports and the airports.  CEL, ANDA and CEPA Board Chairs hold Minister-level rank and report directly to the President.

The Law on Public Administration Procurement and Contracting (LACAP) covers all procurement of goods and services by all Salvadoran public institutions, including the municipalities.  Exceptions to LACAP include:  procurement and contracting financed with funds coming from other countries (bilateral agreements) or international bodies; agreements between state institutions; and the contracting of personal services by public institutions under the provisions of the Law on Salaries, Contracts and Day Work.  The government has a website where tenders by government institutions are published.

Alba Petroleos is a joint-venture between a consortium of mayors from the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) party and a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA.  Alba Petroleos operates dozens of gasoline service stations across the country and has expanded into a number of other industries, including energy production, food production, medicines, micro-lending, supermarket, bus transportation, and aviation. Because of its official relationship with the ruling FMLN party, critics charge that the conglomerate receives preferential treatment from the government.  Critics also allege that Alba Petroleos’ commercial practices, including financial reporting, are non-transparent. The company’s high dependence on the cash flow from the oil credit line with PDVSA combined with a politically-driven business model and poor financial management appears to be driving Alba Petroleos towards insolvency.

Privatization Program

El Salvador does not have a privatization program.

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El Salvador Economic Development and Investment