In a year-end interview, President Rafael Correa said he intends to make streamlining government paperwork a priority for 2014. Although the original intent was to reduce the steps and time required to establish and operate a business, Correa said that red tape needs to be cut back in all interactions between the government and its citizens.
A pilot project beginning in March in several cities, including Cuenca, will be the first step in the red tape-cutting effort.
Correa first announced his bureaucracy reducing plan in August when he presented a graphic at a news conference contrasting the time required to open a business in Ecuador, Chile and Uruguay. While it took an average of 56 days to start a business in Ecuador, he said, the process could be completed in three days in Chile and seven days in Uruguay.
“This is outrageous and needs to change,” Correa said. “We need to get beyond the mentality of a bureaucracy that wants to control everything and that puts up unnecessary obstacles for citizens who want to invest in their country. We need to see how other countries do this and follow their good examples.”
Correa also said he wants to reduce the current requirement that new business applicants need to show they have $800 in the bank to qualify. “This is silly. Obviously, they will need a lot more than this when they start to operate a business but there’s no reason they should have $800 when they apply for a license,” he said. “I think $100 is fine.”
He said that he has asked Ecuador’s minister of production Richard Espinosa to develop streamlined rules for new businesses and to work with the national assembly to develop laws to implement the changes.