Colombian Congress OK’s COP$224 Trillion/US$76 Billion 2017 Budget
The Colombian national Congress on October 19 approved a 2017 budget of COP$224 trillion (US$76 billion) on the same day that the Home Ministry (Ministerio de Hacienda) proposed a new tax-reform scheme that aims to make Colombia more competitive and attract more investment.
According to the government, the newly approved budget – 6.6% larger than the current-year budget, representing 4% of the gross national product — includes a COP$2.9 trillion (US$987 million) hike in social investment for Colombia’s neediest sectors.
Four departments (states) — Antioquia, Santander, Caldas and Tolima – will share COP$649 billion (US$221 million) from the recent sale of formerly state-owned electric power generator Isagen, which is headquartered in Medellin and operates mainly in those four states, the Ministry noted.
National debt service is by far the biggest chunk of the 2017 budget, at COP$51.5 trillion (US$17 billion). Next in size is education (COP$33.9 trillion/US$11 billion), followed by military and police (COP$29.4 trillion/ US$10 billion); labor (COP$26.9 trillion/US$9.1 billion), health-and-welfare (COP$22.2 trillion/US$7.5 billion); and “social inclusion and reconciliation” (COP$10 trillion/US$3.4 billion), the latter of which includes payments to victims of the nation’s narco-terrorist wars.
Environmental and “sustainable development” programs have a 2017 budget of COP$632 billion (US$215 million), while the Congress gets COP$528 billion (US$180 million), according to the Ministry.