Ecuador expected to grow by 0.3% due to quake

Quito, June 5 (IANS) The devastating 7.8 earthquake which hit Ecuador in April caused so much economic devastation that the country will only grow at 0.3 per cent, said President Rafael Correa.

Ecuador’s central bank had predicted growth of 1 per cent of GDP before the incident but “the earthquake will caused us to lose another 0.7 per cent”, the president said on Saturday.

“However, we will continue pressing with full steam ahead as we have been doing,” vowed the president, while he admitted the earthquake had devastated the fishing and tourism industries, which are among Ecuador’s main sources of income.

The province of Manabi is also expected to drop about 10 per cent of its GDP this year as a result while 3.4 per cent of its workforce have lost their work.

“We will get these jobs back, we will bring Manabi out of this, Esmeralda (another affected province) out of this, and the whole country,” he said.

According to latest government figures, the reconstruction will cost $3 billion, of which the state will cover 67 per cent and the private sector 33 per cent.

On June 1, the government also activated new financial measures to raise funds, including raising VAT from 12 to 14 per cent, and an extra tax worth one day of salary for those with salaries over $1,000 a month.

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