fbpx

Why are Colombians on strike on April 28?

Several social movements in Colombia support the national strike scheduled for next Wednesday.

2019 National Strike in Colombia

After the controversial tax reform of the Duque government, the social and labor sectors of the country called on Colombians to mobilize on April 28. Photo: Wikimedia - Roboting

LatinAmerican Post | Maria Fernanda Daza

Escucha este artículo


Leer en español: ¿Por qué los colombianos entran en paro este 28 de abril?

After the third tax reform proposed by the National Government under the mandate of President Iván Duque Márquez was unveiled, the social and labor sectors of the country called on Colombians to mobilize on April 28 against what the government has called "Law of Sustainable Solidarity ”. This project includes a 19% Value Added Tax-VAT tax for strata 4,5,6 in public services such as the aqueduct, sewerage, energy, and gas for homes. Stratum 3 that belongs to the Colombian middle class will also see an increase in the price of their services if the reform is approved. Some basic products of the family basket are included within the products that would be taxed, as well as funeral services.

The reform also includes the increase of 1,300 pesos (0.36 dollars) to gasoline and ACPM, the possibility of creating tolls within cities and charging motorcycles for their use. It also states that people with a salary greater than $ 2,400,000 (nowadays US $ 661) will begin to pay rent and from 2023; workers with incomes of $ 1,624,000 (US $ 447) will also pay taxes. The increase in the minimum wage for public servants would be frozen for five years, thus affecting the Colombian middle class. Most of these proposals, with which the government seeks to raise between 15 and 20 trillion pesos, would come into effect from 2022.

 

What is the national government looking for with this new reform?

The Ministry of Finance said that, with the project "Law of Sustainable Solidarity", the Government of Colombia seeks to increase efforts in the fight against inequality and poverty left by the economic and social effects of the pandemic. Also, guarantee a vital minimum for the most vulnerable households, generate formal employment, encourage access to education and thus continue to build a better country.

Who would be the most affected if the tax reform is approved?

Those most affected by these proposals would be the Colombians who are part of the middle class who would have to make adjustments to their pockets because with the new taxes they will have to pay more for less.

The Former Cinematography Directors of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia expressed that the reform would affect the country's film industry. It would have an impact on Law 814 of 2003, with which the parafiscal contribution of the Fund for Cinematographic Development would be dismantled as of January 1, 2024, transferring the responsibility for this contribution to the National Government, although in the current system the moviegoers,  not the national treasury, finances the FDC. Similarly, Law 1556 of 2012, the second Film Law or Colombian Filming Law, which grants tax benefits to national and foreign films shot in Colombia, would be affected. The tax reform proposes to eliminate the 35% tax discount on expenses on audiovisual and logistics services, a stimulus that Congress approved in 2019. This would eliminate some advantages by discouraging companies that could leave their money and knowledge in Colombia, forcing them to look for other countries.

Also read: Vaccination in Latin America, George Floyd's trial and more news

National Strike April 28

The unions and social movements continue to stand up for the mobilization that will take to the streets of Colombia against the Tax Reform . The call for the National Strike is supported by the trade union centrals CUT, CGT and CTC, and the confederations of pensioners CPC, CDP and Fecode.

However, recently the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, of the Green party (opposition), declared a red alert in the capital, which would make it difficult to carry out marches and protests against the tax reform and against the Government, in general. This is evidently rejected by the movements that support the strike, many of them politically close to the burgomaster.

More Articles