Seek extraordinary powers in nine key areas of political and economic sectors, intends President Gustavo Petro with the National Development Plan. This special condition will allow the president to resolve important issues by decree instead of submitting a law to Congress and debate there. These faculties have an equal term in all cases: six months.
Decisions with this type of power include:
1.- Create the entity or body called the National Digital Security Agency.
2.- Advance the recovery of the San Juan de Dios Hospital.
3.- Regulate the special conditions of imprisonment for members of indigenous peoples and communities.
4.- Regulate the alternative uses of the coca plant and cannabis, for medicinal, therapeutic and scientific purposes of psychoactive substances.
5.- Create a public entity whose main objective is the promotion of the construction, improvement and conservation of local or regional roads.
6.- Homogenize the provisions that regulate the governance and regimes of public financial services entities.
7.- Create, suppress, restructure, merge, spin off, liquidate or integrate generation, distribution and commercialization companies in the electricity sector, with the majority participation of the nation.
8.- Restructure the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce to establish the instruments that are required and implement policies for reindustrialization and strengthening of the popular and community economy, including the definition of non-tax incentives, mechanisms to promote alliances to attract foreign direct investment sustainable development and technology transfer, assignment and management of assets, and financing schemes to strengthen production.
9.- Issue decrees with the force of law, in order to modify the Families and Youth in Action programs and incorporate them into the Transfer System. The foregoing, in accordance with the provisions of numeral 10 of article 150 of the Political Constitution.
On the other hand, within the National Development Plan project, one of the articles that draws attention is that subscription television operators that offer the pay-per-view service for movies, videos or channels with sexual content for adults, and Digital platforms that export entertainment services with sexual content for adults will pay a contribution corresponding to 5% of the value of each service provided or exported.
The creation of the universal income registry is also announced, that is, all Colombians will have to make their income statement. Likewise, they will create a citizen income program starting in 2024, which will harmonize all the subsidy programs provided by the Department of Social Prosperity.
Regarding the “zero hunger” program, it is established that they will provide resources in kind to guarantee the human right to food of the population living in poverty and extreme poverty.
They will also acquire, free of charge or onerous, the infrastructure that corresponds to the San Juan de Dios Hospital-Maternal and Child Institute.
The great chapter for peace includes mechanisms to boost the purchase of land for peace. They are also going to create a National Council of the Popular Economy.
On the other hand, they would create a new indicator to calculate subsidies, fines and other services.
The PND of $1,154 billion will have its main source of financing (50%) in the General Budget of the Nation, from which $577.4 billion would be obtained for the four years, which would mean an average of $144.3 billion per year.
With this total amount of resources, the objective is to turn Colombia into the “world power of life”, promoting five broad lines of work or “axes of transformation” among which are: land use planning around water; human security and social justice; human right to food; productive transformation, internationalization and climate action and regional convergence.
Everything indicates that the objective of the Government is that in the extra sessions of Congress, the text goes through the process so that it is approved and becomes law, because it takes the first weeks of May.
On the other hand, in chapter three, focused on human security and social justice, several striking proposals appear, such as the Transfer System that will be in charge of the Administrative Department of Social Prosperity.
The plan is to establish a set of policies, programs and projects to deliver monetary and in-kind transfers to poor and vulnerable families. The Government will provide the resources to meet these costs, but without specifying the amount, and the president will request special powers for six months to issue the decrees that incorporate the Families and Youth in Action programs into the Transfer System.
In addition, the Citizen Income program will be created as of 2024 and the “Zero Hunger” transfer in kind, which seeks to ensure the right to food for poor families.
The transformation of the Mujer Emprende Fund into the Fund for the Promotion of Women’s Autonomy and Entrepreneurship is also contemplated, which is committed to promoting women’s productive projects.
After enumerating these initiatives of a social nature, article 52 of the PND tries to introduce a modification to the Tax Statute, to give a new destination to the income derived from the income tax of companies.
“Starting in the 2023 taxable period, 9% of the income and complementary tax rate for legal entities will be allocated as follows: 1.4 points will be allocated to the ICBF (it is at 2.2); 0.9 points to the Seine (it is at 1.4); 4.4 points to the Social Security System in Health; 0.4 points will be used to finance early childhood care programs; 0.6 points to finance public higher education institutions to improve the quality of higher education and/or to finance scholarship credits through Icetex and 1.3 points to finance social programs determined by the Government”. In other words, the income that is currently reaching the ICBF and the Seine will be reduced.
Control of public services
One of the most questioned points has to do with what the Government proposes in the energy sector and what it can do with public services. The head of state assured that he intends to assume control of the regulatory commissions for public services, indicating that in Colombia the general and user interest must prevail.
In the draft of the PND, in article 173, it refers to the authorization for the integration of the activities of generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization of electrical energy.
The president, through extraordinary powers, may merge, liquidate, restructure and even suppress companies in the electricity sector, as well as capitalize and establish the conditions for the Nation’s capital contribution, in exercise of the powers granted by this article. The capital contributions that the Nation makes within the framework of the consolidation of the electricity sector may be made at the intrinsic value of the shareholding.
The National Development Plan (PND) is a standard that serves as the basis and provides the strategic guidelines for public policies formulated by the President of the Republic through his government team. Its preparation, dissemination, evaluation and monitoring is the direct responsibility of the National Planning Department and must be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives for it to enter into force.