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News > Ecuador

The Economy Took Center Stage in Ecuador's Presidential Debate

  • Set where the presidential debate took place, Ecuador, Jan. 16, 2021.

    Set where the presidential debate took place, Ecuador, Jan. 16, 2021. | Photo: teleSUR

Published 16 January 2021

Sixteen candidates presented their proposals to overcome the recession and generate employment.

On Saturday night, 16 presidential candidates attended a mandatory debate organized by the National Electoral Council (CNE).


Meet the Main Candidates in Ecuador's Presidential Elections

Their debate is scheduled to take place over two days and will cover four topics: health, education, and vulnerable groups; economy and employment; corruption and democratic institutions; and international relations and human rights.

The candidates were divided into two groups of eight. The first group included Guillermo Lasso (CREO-PSC), Cesar Montufar (Socialist Party-Concertacion), Ximena Peña (PAIS Alliance), Gerson Almeida (Ecuador United), Pedro Freile (Amigo), Lucio Gutierrez (Patriotic Society), Gustavo Larrea (Democracy Yes), and Xavier Hervas (Democratic Left).

In the second group were Guillermo Celi (SUMA), Giovanny Andrade (Ecuadorian Union), Carlos Sagnay (Ecuadorian Force), Isidro Romero (Avanza), Juan Fernando Velasco (Construye), Andres Arauz (Democratic Center and Social Commitment), Yaku Perez (Pachakutik), and Paul Carrasco (Juntos Podemos).

The following is a summary of the main aspects of the debate on the economy and employment.

Guillermo Lasso

The billionaire banker said the state cannot generate economic growth because it has no money, is over-indebted, and is inefficient and corrupt. To change this, he proposed reducing the tax on foreign currency outflows, increasing oil production, promoting mining, and selling over 400 public companies.

Asked how he would reduce interest rates, Lasso said that the reduction in financial costs would happen when Ecuador's country risk decreases and the State generates confidence for foreign investors.

Cesar Montufar

This university professor will strengthen the relations of the Ecuadorian government with multilateral institutions and respect the agreements reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure the arrival of new loans.

He promised a tax reform that will not imply changes to the value-added tax (VAT) but the creation of incentives for companies to accept to produce in a cleaner way. Besides controlling tax evasion, Montufar will establish a 1 percent tax on people with fortunes of over US$1 million.

Ximena Peña

To maintain dollarization in Ecuador, she will not eliminate the tax on capital outflows. After recalling that 7 out of 10 Ecuadorians do not have adequate jobs, Peña proposed that she would generate a program through which the State would pay a percentage of the salaries of new private companies.

Regarding the presence of banker Lasso in the debate, she recalled that the Ecuadorian financial system has not made life easier for citizens.

Gerson Almeida

This candidate proposed to generate an "administrative redemption law" to allow the illegal miners to regularize their situation. He said that Ecuador's economic growth should not depend mainly on the exploitation of natural resources. Instead, he proposed the adoption of policies to encourage agriculture and promised an "intermodal train" to attract private investment.

Pedro Freire

The candidate confirmed that Ecuador needs to encourage oil extraction, bring in international banks to increase competition in the domestic financial sector, and encourage Central Bank's independence. Freire pledged to reduce taxes to generate "freedom" for entrepreneurs to stand up.

Lucio Gutierrez

Instead of answering the questions raised by journalists, the former President spoke about what he did during his government (2003-2005). He vowed to recover the money that bankers stole during the 1990s financial crisis.

He promised to encourage ecological production and proposed lowering VAT from 12 to 10 percent.

Gustavo Larrea

He recalled that the 1990s financial crisis forced 2 million Ecuadorians to migrate and generated the bankruptcy of tens of thousands of companies. To solve the structural imbalances generated since then, he said that Ecuador should no longer base its income on oil and debt.

Instead, Larrea proposes building an "economic development highway" by promoting job-creating activities such as agriculture and fishing. He promised to create a "food basket" program to solve the problem of hunger.

Xavier Hervas

This businessman proposed to solve the country's fiscal deficit through loans from international development banks. He proposed "opening Ecuador to the world" by promoting exports and industries based on agricultural goods and natural resources.

Geovanny Andrade

To shift from the oil era to "the mining era," he proposes the extraction of minerals linked to new technologies. He committed to reduce the number of intermediaries in agricultural export chains.

Carlos Sagnay

To attract foreign investment to Ecuador, he proposes to reduce interest rates and corruption. Business confidence will also be fostered by "a government that does not generate uncertainty."

Isidro Romero

This entrepreneur will foster activities that generate jobs such as agriculture, fishing, construction, mining, and tourism. He opposed the sale of public enterprises and promised to strengthen them.

Juan Fernando Velasco

To attract foreign investors, he proposes to pay the foreign debt and avoid frequent legal changes. However, he said that some aspects of previous debt negotiations should be reviewed to avoid affecting the poor.

Andres Arauz

Due to the establishment's incessant attacks on his candidacy, Arauz began by reminding that the Ecuadorean leftist political alternative is present in the electoral competition despite all attempts to prevent its participation.

He also criticized that the debate raised by the electoral authorities does not include the discussion of important social issues such as the defense of nature and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

During the first week of his government, in order to achieve an increase in demand, he will give a US$1,000 bonus to one million families using the money Ecuador has stored in Swiss banks.

This extraordinary state aid will help alleviate the situation of Ecuadorians in the midst of the recession generated by the pandemic.

The tax evasion of the big businessmen will be controlled through controls to the invoicing, the surveillance of phantom companies, and the interchange of financial information with other countries.

In response to the growing deterioration of the population's living conditions, Arauz ratified that his government will give families back "a country with peace of mind and security for their children.

Yaku Perez

The candidate will promote agricultural production with credits of US$10,000 to five years. He will eliminate the tax on capital outflows and exempt from income tax those entrepreneurs who want to make new investments in the country.

Raul Carrasco

This candidate proposes territorial planning for each province to specialize in the cultivation of certain agricultural goods. He proposes that taxes collected by sub-national governments be invested in their territory.

Carrasco proposes a "banking amnesty" so that debts are restructured over a 10-year period. He also promised to lower taxes on agricultural production.

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