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Ecuador president slashes cabinet members' salaries in pandemic response

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Quito, Ecuador   /   Mon, April 13, 2020   /   09:40 am
Ecuador president slashes cabinet members' salaries in pandemic response Handout picture released by the Ecuador's Presidency showing Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno holding a meeting with some ministers while transmitting live on national radio and television, at Carondelet Presidential Palace in Quito on April 10, 2020 during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Ecuadorian Presidency via AFP/-)

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno and his cabinet members took 50% pay cuts among measures he announced on Friday to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic that has dealt a heavy blow to the Andean nation's economy.

The pandemic in recent weeks has overwhelmed sanitary authorities in the largest city of Guayaquil, where corpses remained in homes or for hours on streets.

The salary reductions will also affect state officials including lawmakers in the National Assembly, who have heavily criticized Moreno's plans to increase taxes to shore up government finances amid the pandemic.

"I have arranged a 50% reduction in the monthly income of the President, Vice President, Ministers and Vice Ministers," Moreno wrote on Twitter account.

Official data on Sunday showed Ecuador had 7,466 infections and 333 deaths. Another 384 people are believed to have died of coronavirus, but the cases were unconfirmed because they were not tested.

Moreno has proposed creating a humanitarian assistance fund that would collect 5% of the profits with reported revenue exceeding $1 million in 2018, and would tax workers with monthly salaries of more than $500.

Those measures have been questioned by indigenous people, unions and business leaders.

"The tax that we want to collect from the workers is unfair, given that the measures do not include the contribution of the state," said labor leader Richard Gomez in an interview.