Colombia government will seek to raise 2023 budget by $2.28 billion, says finance minister

By Thomson Reuters Aug 30, 2022 | 3:17 PM

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s leftist government will ask lawmakers to increase the 2023 budget by 10 trillion pesos ($2.28 billion) so it can up spending on social programs, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo said on Tuesday.

The effort would raise the budget – originally proposed by the previous government of ex-President Ivan Duque – to 401.4 trillion pesos ($91.5 billion), the highest in Colombia’s history.

“We could increase the budget by some 10 trillion pesos, with a basis in bigger tax income and some efforts in management of public assets and multilateral financing,” Ocampo said in a presentation to congressional economic committees.

Ocampo said the increase does not take into account resources which would be raised by a tax reform put forward by the government of President Gustavo Petro. The tax reform is aimed at raising some 50 trillion additional pesos per year in tax revenue by 2026.

“The possibility of increasing some spending in the budget will depend on the tax reform. That will be the focus of a bill to add to the budget which we will present next year,” he said.

Ocampo revised economic growth projections for next year down to 2.2%, from a previous estimate of 3.2%, and well below the 6.5% expansion expected this year.

($1 = 4,386.13 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Carlos Vargas; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)