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Ecuador president pushes for tax reform after backtracking on fuel hikes

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Ecuador president pushes for tax reform after backtracking on fuel hikes

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno proposed a tax reform aimed at improving the government's finances as a plan to eliminate fuel subsidies sparked violent protests in the country, Reuters reported.

Among the reforms are a new tax on companies that have more than $1 million in annual revenue, which Moreno said could potentially raise $532 million in three years. "We will not raise the value added tax," Moreno said in televised remarks. "We will ask those who have more to pay more."

The proposal, which will require congressional approval, will also provide incentives for exporters, and aid for companies which sustained damage during the nearly two-week protests.

Moreno added he will continue discussions for a new fuel price subsidy, which currently have an estimated cost of $1.4 billion per year.

The tax reform proposal had also been part of a broad agreement with the International Monetary Fund for an estimated $4.2 billion in funding.

Meanwhile, the IMF said it is waiting for Ecuador's decision on cutting fuel subsidies before it revises its lending program for the country.

“We are waiting for the new decree that the government will publish regarding its policies associated with the price of fuels,” the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner said at a news conference in Washington.

The IMF will conclude its review on the country following the evaluation of the final package of policies which President Moreno is expected to announce shortly.