Gov’t asks banks to ‘share the pain’ of crisis, Businesses owe $1.4 billion in back taxes, Stopping child labor, Planetarium talks
Hola, Todos –
De la pagina cultural –
Exposición – Cuenca is the first Latin American city in which Trouble Diaries Series (“Diarios Problemáticos) will be exhibited. The show by 19 international artists from almost every continent will be at the Museo Municipal de Arte (MMAM) through marzo. The exhibit shows gender problems and upsets the viewers’ identities. <I hope your identity doesn’t get so upset that you immediately run out and get a sex change.> The show was previously in Germany and China.
Cine – The short film, “Ven Conmigo” (Come with me), will premier este viernes, 13/3 a las 19:00 in the auditorium of the Alianza Francesa (Tadeo Torres y Solano). This was the best film from a workshop given by Boris Ortega in the Alianza Francesa. The second best film from the workshop will be shown in about a month.
Talks – There will be talks at the Planetario every jueves de marzo a las 19:00. The one for el 19/3 will be on the “Primeras mujeres en el espacio.” (First women in space) <And it wasn’t the Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor.> On el 26/3 the talk will be about the Proyecto Artemisa which will send the first woman to the moon in 2024. <I bet there’s already a B movie about that, too.> On el viernes, 27/3 a las 19:00, the Planetarium will show “Gravedad” (Gravity).
Otras cosas –
Titular – Que la banca también se “sacrifique” piden (Asked that the banks also “sacrifice”) – In a meeting with Richard Martínez, Economic and Finance minister, the Asamblea said that the effort on the part of Ecuadorians to overcome the economic crisis brought about by the coronavirus should be shared by all sectors – including banks. The president of the Legislature, César Litardo, met with representatives from the Asociación de Bancos Privados and the Economía Popular y Solidaria which includes cooperatives to define the support from the financial sector. 2019 was one of the best years for banks with the 24 private banks earning $560 million, 10% more than in 2018. Martínez envisions banks reinvesting their utilidades (profits – your word for the day) in the country thus keeping the money in the country.
Uncollected taxes – The SRI reported in the “Ranking de Deudas” (Debt Ranking) section of its website that as of lunes, 10/3, businesses owned $1,449 million in taxes. These are amounts that are not being contested but should be paid immediately. An economist at the UPS (Politecnica Salesiana University) said he didn’t understand why the president didn’t start with tax collections, and took other measures instead to ease the economic crisis. The measures that the government announced would bring in $1,850 million. The measure of mandatory contributions of 4% of their salaries for government workers making up to $1500 and 8% for those making over $1500 is already being contested as unconstitutional. According to the SRI’s list, in just Azuay, there are 500 businesses that owe $90,094,000 in taxes, none of which are being contested.
Eradicating child labor – The Consejo Nacional para la Igualdad Intergeneracional (CNII – National Council for Intergenerational Equality) reported the lack of a plan and lack of integration among institutions to address child labor which increased from 2013 to 2018. According to the first survey on child labor done 7 years ago, 8.56% of children and adolescents between 5 & 17 years worked with half of them in activities considered dangerous. The survey emphasized the 12-14 year old group, and in 2013, 5% worked. In 2017, that had increased to 10.6%. Cuenca is developing an ordinance to create the conditions that will help change the situation. One of the problems is that once the working child is identified, returning him to the same family without improving their economic situation usually results to the child returning to work. <Basically, you have to eradicate poverty and good luck with that.>
Open contracting process – The city council is discussing regulations for city contracts and anticorruption plans. The Servicio Nacional de Contratación Pública (SERCOP – National Public Procurement Service) identified contracts between the city and the business arm of the Universidad Nacional de la Educación which were not the only city contracts awarded under a special process that allows selections based on a proforma or to a sole supplier. The contracts which added up to $650,000 were for events during the Cuenca Independence and carnaval celebrations, technical systems for the Tranvía, and goods and services for different municipal departments. These are the contracts that are awarded because of “who you know,” rather than to the lowest or most qualified bidder.
Community water systems – Community water systems are also preparing to meet water shortages forecasted for 2030. There are about 16,000 Juntas Administradoras de Agua Potable y Saneamiento (JAAPyS – Management Boards of Drinking Water and Sanitation) serving 3 million people in the country and at least 200 are non-profits. One of the largest in Cuenca is the Proyecto Nero serving 30,000 people in Turi, Baños, El valle and part of Paccha parishes. It normally processes 70 l/s from the micro-watershed of the Zhucay River in the Sunsún-Yanasacha protected forest. In the last few weeks, water flow has diminished to 57 l/s so that rationing has been imposed. The board is taking action – including an educational campaign that proper water use is for domestic purposes only; conservation and preservation of water sources; reforestation and care of creeks.
And that´s all for today so Hasta ? –