Peru names economist Tuesta as finance minister

LIMA (REUTERS) - Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra will appoint an economist who was a director for Latin America's CAF development bank as finance minister in a completely new cabinet he will swear in on Monday (April 2), incoming Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva said.

David Tuesta, who had also worked as chief economist for BBVA Research, will be Peru's third finance minister in the past year, after a series of political crises forced several cabinet changes in one of Latin America's most stable markets.

In an interview on radio station Exitosa, Villanueva praised Tuesta as a technocrat who is knowledgeable about the development needs of provinces far from Lima, which he said his cabinet would strive to meet.

Francisco Ismodes, a former manager of mining company Milpo , which is controlled by Nexa Resources, will become the new energy and mines minister in the world's No. 2 copper producer, Villanueva said in a later interview on local broadcaster RPP.

Nestor Popolizio, a deputy minister in Peru's Foreign Ministry, will become the foreign minister, Villanueva said on Exitosa.

Vizcarra took office last month to replace Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker who resigned mired in scandal on the eve of an impeachment vote in the opposition-controlled Congress.

In a bid to bridge deep political divides and help his administration govern with the opposition, Vizcarra chose Villanueva, a centrist lawmaker who had led the impeachment effort against Kuczynski, as his prime minister.

Villanueva, Tuesta, Ismodes and more than a dozen other ministers will be sworn in during a ceremony late on Monday.

Tuesta will be taking the reins of Peru's economy as the fiscal deficit has widened to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product and economic growth and inflation have slowed over the past year.

Last month, the chief of the central bank called for Vizcarra's government to return Peru to a path of fiscal sustainability by avoiding unnecessary spending.

Villanueva said the government would work to strengthen growth and restore investor trust in Peru, where many established politicians have been tainted by a corruption scandal involving Brazilian builder Odebrecht.