Although many of them did not support Lenin Moreno in the recent election, Ecuador’s business leaders say they are hopeful that the new president will follow through on promises to improve the country’s business climate.
During the campaign, Moreno met frequently with manufacturers, builders, and small business groups, agreeing that changes are needed in the country’s business regulatory and taxation structure.
“He has told us that he believes government regulation of business has gone too far and that some of the taxes imposed during the Correa years are unfair,” says Richard Martínez, president of the Ecuadorian Business Committee. “I believe he is sincere and am hopeful the changes will come soon after he takes office.”
Silverio Durán, president of the Ecuador Chamber of Construction, agrees and says his members need immediate help. “The building and real estate industry in Ecuador is in a depression, not a recession,” he says. “Mr. Moreno has said he disagrees with the new capital gains tax imposed by the Assembly as well as other measures that have put many employees in our business out of work. It’s time for a change and we look forward to it.”
Although Moreno’s proposals to improve Ecuador’s business climate often lacked specifics, Martínez believes the new president’s willingness to discuss the sector’s problems is the first step in making changes.
“He understands the country is in a bad recession despite what other people may say,” he says. “He understands that improving the employment situation depends on the private sector, not the government. He understands we need a climate in which investors will come forward to support growth and not keep their money on the sidelines. We are expecting results.”