Ecuador President Rafael Correa visibly moved by the earthquake tragedy. | Photo: @Presidencia_Ec
21 April 2016
Funding the reconstruction
The president detailed further the taxation measures announced to fund the reconstruction of the Ecuadorean coast devastated by the earthquake.
The Ecuadorean President praised the efforts of the rescuers, health teams and security forces that have significantly helped the lives of the people affected by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake during a press conference from a provisional hospital set up in Bahia de Caraquez, one of the coastal areas affected by the earthquake, where 12 children were recently born despite the conditions.
Correa explained in more detail the taxation measures he announced the night before, insisting that the solidarity effort will be progressive – the richest will be expected to contribute more than the poorest.
He explained that the 2 point raise on sales tax will not affect medicines and only 10 percent of food products; that it will be reimbursed to the residents of Manabi and Esmeraldas, the most affected provinces; and that it will be applied for one year and possibly less, depending on the price of oil, in which case the President will modify the bill by decree.
All the funds generated by these exceptional measures – up to an estimated US$1 billion – will be allocated to the reconstruction of the coast, he added, saying his government is working on a detailed reactivation plan.
The President also expressed his disappointment at some opposition sectors that criticized the tax measures: “We have to elevate the level of the debate here please, in such circumstances of national tragedy.”
“If the opposition (in Congress) approves the bill to save Manabi and Esmeraldas, I will stop (my weekly program on TV) and remove the Ministry of Happiness,” he added, as the opposition has lobbied for the removal of both, on the pretext of their alleged costs to Ecuadorean taxpayers.
The president will spend the night in Bahia de Caraquez and continue his trip along the affected coastal areas tomorrow.