Americas News

Ecuador to raise taxes to fund earthquake recovery

Ecuador is to raise sales taxes and put a one-time levy on millionaires to help pay for reconstruction after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake on April 16.

On Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that he is raising sales taxes and putting a one-time levy on millionaires to help pay for reconstruction after Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

In a nationally televised address on Wednesday night, President Correa announced short-term tax changes to help Ecuador recover.

Sales taxes will increase to 14 percent from 12 percent for one year. People with more than $1 million in assets will be charged a one-time tax of 0.9 percent on their wealth. Workers earning over $1,000 a month will be forced to contribute one day’s pay, with those earning $5,000 a month coughing up five days pay. Taxes on companies will also increase by three percent and the government will look to sell some state assets.

Ecuador’s Defense Minister Ricardo Patino said Wednesday the death toll has risen to 570 with 163 listed as missing. Around 7,000 are reported to have been injured and 23,500 have been displaced because of the quake.

In the aftermath of the quake, Spain is sending 13 tons of aid to Ecuador’s earthquake zone, including drinking water for 18,000 people, tents, blankets, electrical generators and personal hygiene products.

“The main risk at this point is for those who are in the affected areas to have access to clean water and sanitation to avoid illnesses in the next couple of days,” Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation director of emergency services Rafael de Prado said.

Ecuadorean Ambassador to Spain, Miguel Calahorrano Camino said the quake’s toll has been hard.

“Our people are fighting, hard working people and we hope that this bravery and the hard work of our people will be able to overcome this catastrophe,” Camino said.

Foreign nationals from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Colombia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic have been confirmed among the dead.

(Main Image: AFP)


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