After this Thursday, November 3, the tax reform was approved in the Congress of the Republic and the documents of the Senate and Chamber entered the conciliation phase, the Minister of Finance of Colombia, José Antonio Ocampo, assured that part of the responsibility of the economic slowdown suffered by the country would come from the panic that businessmen would be sowing, so he asked them to be honest with public opinion. In addition, he again denied an alleged intention to resign from his position.
This call for attention was given on the morning of this Friday the 4th, during an interview he gave for the news program Noticias Caracol. In that long conversation she had time to answer several questions. For example, he reiterated that this reform intends to raise 20 billion pesos each year, plus an additional 20 billion that are collected with measures against tax evasion. Said strategies, Ocampo mentioned, include penalties for those who hide assets for more than one billion pesos, fail to pay more than 100 million in taxes or charge costs to people or businesses that do not coincide with the company’s service.
He also recalled that the purpose of this reform is to gather resources for comprehensive rural reform, peace programs dedicated to victims of violence and those interested in substituting illicit crops, university education for low-income people, connectivity, health, social housing and aqueducts.
He also recalled that this reform will not be dedicated to the fiscal deficit, because resources were approved in the general budget for that. In addition, when asked about the taxation of churches, which will enter into conciliation because the Chamber gave its approval and the Senate did not, Ocampo had to make a caveat: what will be taxed are not the donations or economic activities that go towards the cult, but those that are property of the holder of that cult and only benefit him.
The minister was asked about the possible effects of this reform on companies and the economy. Ocampo warned that the previous tax reform was more severe with companies, because it raised the tax rate from 30 to 35%, while the current one maintained precisely that rate. Regarding the economy, he said he was aware that there are adverse international conditions and even threats of recession in developed economies. However, he asked to be honest about the real impact and stop the financial panic.
“I ask you not to continue alarming, because the alarm you are generating is part of the reason why you are generating little credibility for the government. Rather, believe that we are fiscally and monetarily responsible, so our fiscal and monetary policy is responsible. So what please recognize it publicly so as not to generate this panic that they are generating themselves, because the government is not generating panic,” said Ocampo.
The official ruled out that this reform generates recessive effects and assured that, given his experience in teaching macroeconomics, “when one puts a tax and spends it, it generates a positive effect on economic activity, especially if the proceeds are used for social programs. , which are the lowest income sectors”.
Finally, Ocampo ruled out that he intends to step aside after the approval of this tax reform. “I don’t understand why rumors are invented that I’m leaving. Everyone said that I was leaving after the tax reform. Here I am and here I stay”, concluded the official.