President Lenin Moreno told Ecuadorians Thursday that the country needs to open its doors to investors to revitalize the economy. In the first “state of the nation” report of his presidency, he outlined a series of tax incentives and policy changes he hopes will attract international and domestic investment.
The president also outlined the changes he has brought to the government since taking office a year ago, saying, “No one can say this has been a boring year.”
Defending his decision to reintroduce term-limits for elected offices, Moreno said, “Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently — and for the same reason.”
The eight-year term limit passed in the February referendum reverses a constitutional amendment pushed through the National Assembly by former president Rafael Correa that allowed indefinite reelection for office holders, including the president.
Among the incentives Moreno proposes for investors are an eight-year exemption on income tax for new industries in Quito and Guayaquil and a ten-year exemption in the rest of the country. For new small businesses, he said there would be a three-year tax exemption.
He also said that legislation he sent to the National Assembly will eliminate the so-called “advance income tax” currently charged to businesses. He said the tax is unfair and restricts new investment and employment.
In addition, Moreno plans to eliminate the exit tax on money taken out of the country but said the tax would be reduced incrementally depending on economic conditions. The tax is currently five percent.