President Rafael Correa is defending the tax proposals he sent to the National Assembly last week, saying they will have minimal impact on the country’s poor. He made his comments during his weekly address to the nation on Saturday.
“What poor person will leave the country with $11,000 in his pocket,” Correa asked, referring to the proposal to lower the amount of cash travelers can take out of the country. “And the new taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and sodas will encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles.”
Correa called on his supporters to show support for the new taxes and his government on Thursday by gathering in the major cities. The demonstrations of support are intended to counter anti-tax protests that have been called for Guayaquil and Quito.
“Let’s defend the Citizens Revolution, which created roads, schools, hospitals, and airports across the country,” Correa said. “Let’s show our support for a quality of life and and equality that have been estabslished in the last 10 years.”
About his tax proposals, Correa said he had been careful not impact gasoline, transportation, electricity and other basic services. “We face difficult economic times and it is necessary to bring out national budget into balance,” the president said. “The fall of oil prices and international monetary factors beyond our control make the necessary. It is the responsible thing to do bring the country’s finances in line with reality.”
The large anti-government protest is planned for Guayaquil on Thursday, organized by Mayor Jaime Nebot.