Gutierrez Seeks to Fund Colombia Growth Plan While Curbing Debt

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Colombian presidential candidate Federico “Fico” Gutierrez, the main challenger to leftist Gustavo Petro, is planning a tax reform to gradually increase revenue over 10 years, according to one of his top advisers, Bloomberg News reported. That will help fund an ambitious plan to boost growth, tackle infrastructure bottlenecks and build a million homes for low-income families, but without running up unsustainable debts that would scare off investors, said Manuel Fernando Castro, who is helping formulate the candidate’s economic program. Tax increases are an explosive topic in the Andean nation after an attempt by President Ivan Duque to raise revenue triggered weeks of rioting last year. Gutierrez would seek a broad consensus before sending a bill to congress, and would ensure that it doesn’t hurt vulnerable households or the middle class, Castro said Friday, in a video interview. By tripling spending on country roads, Colombia can boost productivity and integrate rural districts into the national economy, Castro said. The nation’s major cities are generally served by large, well-maintained highways, while remote towns are connected by dust tracks that turn to mud when it rains. That makes life misery for farmers trying to get their produce to market, and hinders the development of swathes of the national territory. Read more.