The Colombian government has officially presented a $3.95 billion tax reform bill to congress late Tuesday, prompting critics to denounce the move as they claim that would not be enough to solve the crisis that the country has been facing in the wake of the pandemic.
The new plan would raise only 15.2 trillion Colombian pesos per year, an amount which is significantly less than the 23.4 trillion Colombian pesos that the government sought in a previous proposal that it presented in April.
The original iteration of the reform, which valued at about $6.5 billion, was withdrawn by the government amid huge and violent protests across the country.
According to President Ivan Duque, the legislation’s implementation is high time due to the country’s increasing debt and painfully deepening fiscal deficit.
Duque also believed that the bill must be passed to strengthen the government’s social programs and to diminish the apprehension of investors about the medium-term fiscal management of the country.
“The social investment law, which we will build between all of us, is the largest jump in human development in recent decades,” Duque told the legislators during the second legislative period of 2021 on the celebration of Colombia’s Independence Day.
The reduced budget for the new tax reform bill incited denouncement from critics and protesters. They said that the $3.95 billion package will not do enough to revamp the country’s spending on education and job creation.
“Protests continue because President Duque has not solved any of the problems faced by Colombian society,” Francisco Maltes, the president of Central Union of Workers, said in a statement.