The reindustrialization of the country and strong support for the popular economy are prioritized.

By José Antonio Ocampo, EL TIEMPO, May 21, 2023

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The signing of the Development Plan, “Colombia, a world power for life”, represents a landmark for this country. This time, like few previous Plans, it’s the result of the National Planning Department and the Finance Ministry working closely together. They collected the contributions of the whole administration, the National Planning Council, and a broad assembly of Members of Congress, who worked together with the administration in the discussions. And it’s worth pointing out that they also relied on multiple regional consultations.

Precisely because of that, I want to stress the emphasis that the Plan places on the development of the countryside, with its social, economic, and geographic differences, and hence, the need to start there in order to strengthen national development. The convergence in development of the different regions is one of the principal objectives. This emphasizes the importance of rural development in all its dimensions: agrarian reform, better social services and economic opportunities for the campesinos, and access by the rural world to every kind of infrastructure.

Environmental sustainability is another central element. That implies the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, especially the limitation of our principal contribution to this worldwide disaster: deforestation. It’s also significant to protect our biodiversity and the strategic environmental territories, most notably the Amazon area and the Pacific coast. And also it demands the transformation of energy, which implies moving toward clean energy.

In the area of economics, reindustrializing the country and the strong support of the popular economy are priority objectives. Promoting digital payments and financial information to facilitate access to credit for owners of micro-businesses occupies an essential role. And, of course, the plan stresses collaterally the necessity for firmly respecting the macro-economic stability of this country.

The Colombia World Power of Life Fund, which will be administered by the National Treasury, is one of the financial instruments that the Plan has created to materialize all of these ideas.

Following the pattern that previous Plans outlined, the most complicated element was the enormous number of Articles it contains: a total of 372. By means of that long list, multiple laws have been reformed and new regulations have been created. And that doesn’t count the nearly 6,000 proposals that were rejected because they were not germane to the legislation.

In contrast with the considerable time dedicated to debating those regulations, the Bases elaborated in the DNP and the investment plan were not discussed very much, except for the request to incorporate projects of regional interest. Those are the issues referred to in Article 339 of Colombia’s Constitution, which provides “there will be a national development plan made up of a general part and an investment plan for the public entities in the national scheme. In the general part, there are national purposes and objectives for the long term, the goals and priorities for government action in the medium range, and the general strategies and orientations of economic, social, and environmental policy that will be adopted by the administration.”

Thus, a good point of reference is Statute 188 of 1995, where the first Development Plan under the Constitution of 1991 was approved. That Statute had only 47 Articles; the first of them established the objectives and strategies, and those were succeeded by the multi-year plan for investments and programs, subprograms, and the necessary projects.

It would be worth the effort, therefore, to modify Statute 152 of 1994, the Organic Statute for Development Plans, and establish that the planning statute should just include the objectives, strategies, programs, and the long term investment plan, and should eliminate definitively the long list of regulations, which ought to be covered by specific Statutes.

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