The congressional economic commissions, meeting in a joint session, approved the nation’s overall budget for 2024, which is around $502.6 billion, in the first debate.
The vote, which went smoothly, also left for consideration in the second debate more than 300 proposals, 178 of which are new and the vast majority of which would relate to the role of the regions, which is crucial for the future of the project will be important.
Thus, the PGN 2024 remained in the discussion. The project’s total value of $502.6 billion was divided into $308.7 billion in ongoing operations; $94.5 billion for debt service; and $99.3 billion for investments.
When segmented by portfolio, the amounts remained the same as in the previous report. The education portfolios ($70.4 billion); health ($61.5 billion); Defense ($55.5 billion) and Treasury ($49.2 billion) are the branches with the most resources for the 2024 period.
Some sectors, such as agriculture, added more than $200 billion, from $9.1 trillion to $9.3 trillion between the last review and the proposed text.
In fact, this was the result of opposition from some members of Congress during the legislative debate. “Today we are giving the Department of Agriculture $200,000 million more; It seems absurd to me, what is the criterion to give money to a ministry that the majority has not implemented?,” said MP Modesto Aguilera.
Before the discussion, Finance Minister Ricardo Bonilla announced a readjustment of the operational department’s resources for investments amounting to $1.6 billion; Branch from which the amounts are allocated to each region.
From a regional perspective, the investment amounts to $73 billion, of which Bogotá ($8.7 billion); Antioquia ($8.3 billion) and Valle del Cauca ($4.3 billion) are the areas with the highest resource allocation. This was followed by the regions of Santander ($3.4 billion) and Cundinamarca ($3.3 billion) as the regions receiving the most investments.
On the contrary, the departments with the lowest allocation of resources include Vaupés ($225,000 million); Guainía ($289 million); Amazon ($374 million) and Vichada ($412 million).
This territorial socialization of the investment in the PGN 2024 caught the attention of a number of Congressmen, who questioned some of the amounts and targets for which these resources will be available.
One of them was Senator Efraín Cepeda, President of the Third Commission, who questioned the use of these resources for the problem of energy prices in the Caribbean.
Another example was Senator Juan Carlos Garcés. “It cannot be possible for a department that is recovering to have a 25% year-on-year increase. We are among those with the lowest increase. It’s not about taking something away from the regions because everyone needs it,” he assured.
Other distributions recorded at the meeting included calls for a review of the Financial Regulation and the way the Autonomous Committee of the Financial Regulation is formed. Among the politicians who mentioned this in their posts is Rep. Jennifer Pedraza.
“Although he presents himself as autonomous, there is obviously a revolving door between the financial sector and the members of the committee. Otherwise (if it is not checked) we, neither this government nor the others, will have the opportunity to have any room for maneuver in public spending,” Pedraza said.
For her part, House of Representatives representative Katherine Miranda referred to communities in precarious conditions. “Let us really focus our efforts on the most vulnerable populations, putting political disputes aside and looking at society,” he said.