The electoral contest for 2022 takes more shape every day. While several of the candidates have joined a certain coalition, others have begun to show their cards. This is the case of Juan Carlos Echeverry, who was already Minister of Finance and also served as President of Ecopetrol, among other positions.
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Echeverry mentioned in days past, and amidst the discussions of the minimum salary By 2022, the need for it to be increased, by at least 11 percent, as a solution to jump-start the economy.
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Where does that figure come from?
Food inflation is at 13 percent as of October, households living on the minimum wage are emerging from the pandemic in a difficult situation, and the cost of living has risen a lot. If inflation is close to 5 percent, and productivity has risen a lot, almost 3 percent, the floor should be at least 8 percent. However, I believe that this is an important moment to support the market economy and for the solidarity of entrepreneurs.
We launched that proposal that the salary should be increased to 11 percent because we should have different minimum salaries by departments, some 8 percent, others 10 or 11 percent, depending on how much inflation has risen in each one. . The idea would be to take advantage of and raise the issue of minimum salary regional and hourly rate.
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More than 90 percent of the Colombian business fabric is microenterprises, if they could maintain such an increase?
The salary in Colombia is not very high in international comparisons. I believe that the solution to the problem in the situation of companies is to create a much better economy. Companies have an immense overload of procedures, of all kinds of taxes and fees.
I believe that the solution to the problem in the situation of companies is to create a much better economy
I believe that labor cost is not the key decision on whether a company opens or not, on the other hand, the lack of competitiveness comes from a series of very high costs and we should move to help companies, with a more conducive environment. The current state is very ineffective. I also draw on the results of the Nobel Prize in economics, which showed that there is no unequivocal relationship between wage increases and increases in unemployment.
If you are elected as the next president, would your government start with a new tax reform?
I would change the type of taxation we have. The reform would begin by changing the philosophy, today we grow to pay taxes and we should pay taxes to grow. It would leave that 35 percent rate that is now set above the 2019 profit level, and those that are above that level would be set to 20 percent. So each company would set its tax rate based on the growth of its profits, the more they grow, it pays a rate of 20 percent for those additional profits. There we have a taxation consistent with the growth of companies.
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What challenges do you perceive to regain employment in the country?
The fundamental thing is to understand that the Colombian economy is very small and cannot be generated only in 49 of the 1,1120 municipalities in the country. The other municipalities have very little economic activity, and 10 million are set aside in informality. It is necessary not only for the economy to grow, but to create new companies, a new economy, in the departments and municipalities where there are none.
How could this new economy be created?
My example at Ecopetrol is that when the company was handed over to me, it was a not very productive company, because it produced at 65 dollars a barrel. We lowered it to 35 dollars per barrel, there is a lot of possibility of generating efficiency in companies by reducing the costs that the government puts on it.
What do you think could be the use of oil?
Oil is 25 or 30 percent below its peak, when we produced 1.15 million barrels. Today we are at 750,000 barrels, and that decline is very difficult to compensate because the new discoveries in the Colombian territory are insufficient. This is a very great opportunity so that gradually, and not suddenly as they have also proposed, we are going to transform ourselves from an oil and fossil fuel-based economy, and we can transform ourselves into an agricultural, manufacturing, service-based and economic economy. of sectors that occur throughout the country, not only in oil areas.
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What is your hourly quote proposal like?
Today we have a system that works only for 30 percent of Colombians, today more than $ 40 billion of the fiscal deficit is paid for pensions. From now on, this system will gradually be replaced, but the important thing is to create a subsidized pension system, which we started 10 years ago with ‘Elderly’.
It must be doubled in amount, because 80,000 pesos are sent to poor elderly people, which is completely insufficient, and also double it in number.
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They propose an 11% increase in the minimum wage by 2022