At the beginning of February, the Government filed in Congress the National Development Plan (PND) 2022-2026. Gustavo Petro’s roadmap for the next four years contemplates 1,154.8 billion pesos and will be under discussion until May 7, at the latest.
The think tanks Fedesarrollo and Anif have analyzed the 300 articles that make up the document and have warned of some points that are debatable and could be improved for discussion in Congress.
(You can also read: This is how employers and unions see the draft of the labor reform)
The buts of Fedesarrollo
according to Fedesarrollo, the Gini coefficient is only mentioned once in the entire document. The goal established for 2023 is to reduce it by 0.03, while for 2024 and 2025 it is 0.01, and no decrease is expected in 2026.
“In a country as unequal as Colombia, it would be expected that the PND would attach greater importance to reducing inequality, in order to guarantee equitable access to opportunities. The creation of funds and systems does not guarantee greater equality per se, so it is necessary to include the reduction of inequality as one of the main objectives with quantifiable goals and verifiable instruments”, says an analysis of the center led by Luis Fernando Mejía.
In addition, he adds that the PND does not observe large investments in infrastructure, which are decisive for improving economic growth. “It would be useful to launch the 5G works program and spend the royalty resources on high-impact projects, which would have the additional benefit of increasing the growth potential of the economy,” he says.
However, he says that the roadmap proposed by the government of Gustavo Petro only includes the intervention of 33,000 kilometers of tertiary roads in terms of maintenance or improvement as a first level indicator in the regional convergence axis, without mentioning fifth generation projects. nor of high urban impact.
«This could generate an extension of the country’s lag in terms of infrastructure,» he warns.
Likewise, it mentions that the bases of the Plan establish the goal of reducing the incidence of monetary poverty to 35.5 percent with a baseline of 39.3 percent by 2021. In addition, in terms of job creation, The unemployment rate is aimed at 8.8 percent by the end of the four-year period and to reduce formality by 1.6 percentage points compared to the 40.9 percent estimated for 2021.
However, since the fulfillment of these goals is unlikely if the PND does not propose strategies that allow greater economic growth, the primary source for the reduction of poverty and unemployment.
Regarding the proposal to include intelligent tariffs, this measure could be counterproductive for competition and the insertion of companies in the world economy.
The debatable for Anif
according to Anif, the conservative growth targets that come in the Plan are quite a bit (1.3 percent in 2023; 2.8 percent in 2024; 3.6 percent in 2025 and 2026) and are not entirely compatible with the reduction targets poverty (3.8 point contraction in the incidence of monetary poverty), job creation (an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent is expected in 2026) and a decrease in informality.
«The little development of the instruments focused on leveraging growth in the next four years is surprising, also considering that all the objectives of the plan depend on adequate economic growth,» says Anif.
Anif also indicates that the PND falls short in infrastructure plans that are of enormous relevance for the growth of the country. «Although there is an important emphasis on tertiary roads and fluvial transport, which is salvageable, there are very few mentions of investment in megaprojects, key to the development of the country and the regions», highlights the center.
likewise points out that weaknesses in infrastructure and tariff policies can go against internationalization objectives and insertion in global and regional value chains that require significant logistical improvements and reduction of barriers to trade, especially when the internationalization strategy seeks to operate in Latin America and the Caribbean and in agricultural and industrial products.
They also say they see a clear emphasis on higher education that it leaves primary, secondary, basic and middle education in the background. «This can leave important gaps in terms of the skills that the labor market demands at the national level or solve gaps that arise from the first educational levels,» they say.
They also say that the spectrum that the Plan calls popular economy is very wide and that they see an absence of clear efforts in labor formalization, beyond the extension of the incentive to create new jobs.
“Although we recognize the importance of understanding the popular economy for the construction of knowledge and adequate public policies, we consider it problematic that there is not a forceful effort to facilitate the creation of companies and formal employment,” says Anif.