President Guillermo Lasso said he will announce a plan this week to offer residency to the estimated 450,000 Venezuelans living in Ecuador. “The plan is to integrate the migrants into Ecuadorian society through work, educational and other opportunities,” he said. “They have suffered tremendously through no fault of their own and they deserve the right to create new lives and a better future.”
Lasso said that Ecuador will need financial assistance to accommodate the refugees and said the government is talking to the United Nations and the Organization of American States in developing its plan.
Because the Venezuelan crisis has developed rapidly in recent years, the president said that many of the migrants have suffered discrimination and isolation in Ecuador. “For humanitarian reasons, we must now welcome them as brothers and sisters and allow them access to everything our country has to offer,”
He added that he does not expect all the Venezuelans currently in the country to remain but says as many as 200,000 might stay permanently.
Lasso to propose new taxes, limit on deductions
President Guillermo Lasso said Friday he will propose new taxes for high-income earners as well as limits on deductions he says cost the government $2 billion to $3 billion a year. Details of the revenue plan, which Lasso said would only affect four percent of all taxpayers, are in development and will be announced soon.
According to Finance Minister Simón Cueva, the new tax plan is part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that will provide $6 billion in loans to Ecuador through 2022. “The [President Lenin] Moreno government had pledged measures to increase revenue by $2.5 billion annually before the pandemic but we renegotiated that figure based on the economic crisis of the last 18 months. The measures we will propose will generate about $700 million and maybe a little more.”
The most contentious part of the new tax plan could be limits on deductions, says financial adviser Ana Patricia Muñoz, executive director of Grupo Faro. “The deductions favor the wealthy who have considerable political influence,” she said. “But changes are long overdue since the deductions amount to billions of dollars in lost revenue for the government every year.”
Cuenca women win football championship
The Deportivo Cuenca Leonas won their second Ecuador football championship in two years on Saturday night, defeating Club Ñañas of Los Chillos. Although the game ended in a scoreless tie, Cuenca was awarded a 3-2 victory based on rules of the three-game playoff series. The game was notable because it was the first time fans were allowed to watch a game in Cuenca’s Alejandro Serrano Aguilar stadium since early March 2020.