As one of the richest men in one of Latin America's poorest countries, Paraguay's new president says he knows the wealthy can do more to combat poverty, starting with landowners like him who can afford to pay taxes on the soy profits that are fueling a booming economy.
In a wide-ranging Associated Press interview on Wednesday, President Horacio Cartes condemned tax evaders, said he'll require corporate partners to fund Paraguay's social development, and took credit for the country's first tax on commodities. The new 10 per cent tax on soy, corn, wheat, and sunflower profits is expected to generate $300 million a year by 2015.
"Many governments tried to do it, they always attacked the soy industry, but they were never able to impose a single tax. We did it in less than a month," said Cartes.
Cartes said one of his main challenges is to crack down on tax evasion that costs the country half its revenues. "Everyone must pay taxes. It's shameful that, despite such a low overall tax burden (13 per cent of GDP), many people don't pay."