The economic and budgetary affairs commissions of the Colombian Congress approved today the first draft of the Financing Law, with which the Government seeks to finance part of the nation's general budget in 2019.
The initiative aims to achieve 7.5 billion pesos (about 2,300 million dollars) of the 258.9 billion pesos (about 84,411 million dollars) approved by the Colombian Congress for next year's budget.
"We worked for many hours, with transparency and above the table disagreements were provided with professionalism and mutual respect and I think it is an example for the democratic debate for the country," said Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla, quoted in a statement from his office.
The Financing Law, which has motivated repeated protest marches throughout the country, initially aimed to cover a deficit of 14 billion pesos (about 4,371 million dollars) of the 2019 national budget.
However, in this paper the proposal to extend the VAT to 80% of the products of the family basket was eliminated, so, for now, it is looking for 7.5 trillion pesos (about 2,300 million dollars).
Among the highlights of what has been approved today, according to the Government, are the multi-phase value-added tax (VAT) on beers and soft drinks, meaning that the tax will not be charged only during production but also in the distribution chain. .
"It is an article of enormous importance from the collection point of view, but also from our faulty statutory architecture in tax matters, it is a fundamental structural correction," Carrasquilla added.
Similarly, the Ministry of Finance said that the initiative seeks to reduce the tax burden on companies, in addition to facilitating entrepreneurship and that those who "have more income and greater wealth contribute a little more and strengthen" to the Directorate of Taxes and National Customs (DIAN).
After today's approval, the bill will go to the plenary of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
For its part, the representative to the Chamber Catalina Ortiz, of the opposition Green Alliance party, regretted that by the Law of Financing "independent workers would be affected by declaring VAT after 8 million pesos (about $ 2,500) of income, not would reach to receive but up to 60% of the salary assigned. "
The senator of the ruling party Democratic Center Fernando Araújo said that the approval of the initiative in the first debate was "a very intense dialogue, very broad, very generous."
"What we are achieving here is a consensus as broad as possible, seeking to find the necessary resources to finance the 2019 budget and also the vigor of this economy," Araújo told reporters.