Colombia to offer tax breaks for infrastructure, social service projects under peace deal

The plan was designed to lure more private sector companies into the construction of roads, water and sanitation systems, along with schools, health centers and other projects.

By: Reuters | Bogota | Published: June 26, 2016 9:00 am
colombia, havana peace process. colombia peace process. raul castro, santos colombia, FARC, world news, latin america news Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and Commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, Timoleon Jimenez, right, shake hands during a signing ceremony of a cease-fire and rebel disarmament deal, in Havana, Cuba on June 23, 2016. In the center is Cuba’s President Raul Castro. (Source: AP)

Colombia will offer tax incentives to companies that get involved in infrastructure and social service projects in areas left underdeveloped or scarred by the country’s 50-year armed conflict, a government official said.

The government and leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebels, signed a landmark ceasefire agreement in Havana this week, clearing the way for a final peace accord as soon as next month.

Rafael Pardo, a veteran politician, was appointed by President Juan Manuel Santos as the country’s post-conflict minister last year. In comments to Reuters, late on June 24, he said the tax plan will take effect once the final peace deal is in place.

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The plan was designed to lure more private sector companies into the construction of roads, water and sanitation systems, along with schools, health centers and other projects, he said.

“Companies can choose to do these projects and the cost of the project will be deducted from their taxes,” he said.

“For the state it’s a neutral process,” Pardo added. “It means doing projects probably more quickly and in a more efficient way and for the companies it is a benefit in the sense that they want to have a presence in a certain region.”

He did not elaborate, except to say that the post-conflict tax policy could help job creation.

Pardo is a close ally of Santos, who has said the end of Latin America’s longest-running conflict will add as much as one percentage point to Colombia’s economic growth per year.

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