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Bulletin Real Time: Latest News 

by Brigard Urrutia

Published: February, 2021

Submission: February, 2021

 



1. Relief for Venezuelan migrants with the enactment of the Temporary Protection Statute for Migrants.


Colombia currently hosts an estimated 1.7 million Venezuelans, 56% of whom do not have regular status (Devex, 2021). On February 8th, 2021, Colombia announced the creation of the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants, becoming the most relevant immigration policy in Latin America and the Caribbean to regularize the Venezuelan population and protect their human rights. The Statute will comprise the following topics: 1. The Single Registry of Venezuelan Migrants Under the Temporary Protection Regime will have the purpose of collecting and updating information as an input for the formulation and design of public policies, and to identify Venezuelan migrants. 2. The Temporary Protection Permit is a mechanism for migratory regularization and identification document that authorizes Venezuelan migrants to remain in the national territory and to exercise any legal activity or occupation in the country, including work. The Temporary Protection Permit and will have a validity of 10 years.


 


2.Vaccination efforts continue with the unveiling of MiVacuna App.


Based on data compiled from the health promotion entities, the Government confirmed that MiVacuna App is already available for citizens to update their information and gradually determine their appointment dates to be vaccinated. The App comes two weeks before the start of the national vaccination campaign. The majority of users on Friday based their searches on seeing if family members above the age of 80 (born before February 03, 1941) were registered in the Ministry of Health’s and Social Protection Phase One database and therefore “prioritized” to receive the first batch of doses from Pfizer/BioNTech (The City Paper, 2021). The App also provides information on where vaccinations will take place. The first vaccines will arrive this weekend in Colombia confirmed Julio Aldana, director of the National Institute for Food and Drug Surveillance (INVIMA). The government’s goal is to vaccinate 35.2 million people this year or equivalent to 70% of the population. The government has secured 61.5 million vaccines from various laboratories, including 20 million through the WHO’s Covax program.


 


3. Colombian Government confirmed an upcoming Tax Reform.


Colombian President Ivan Duque and his Finance Minister, Alberto Carrasquilla, came into Office with the idea that it was necessary to give a new turn to the country’s taxes and spending. The plan was to raise workers’ incomes and reduce the tax burden on companies. In practice, they have reduced costs, and employment and salaries are still upsetting for the goals of reducing inequality. Enters: the pandemic. Central Government had to use a good part of its arsenal to deal with Covid-19. Thus, public debt rose to a level that experts consider high for a middle-income country like Colombia. Indebtedness is around 60 percent of GDP. And although the hardest part of the health emergency is over, its aftermath is still alive. In other words, debt will likely have to keep rising. At this point, Duque’s economic team had no choice but to start building a fiscal reform, which did not sound good in a year when citizens and businesses are declared to be pummeled by the pandemic. Even so, the reform is the only way for the Government to obtain resources to face the debt and investment needs. According to reports in the country, the initiative will be presented between March and April of this year, so that it will be approved before the end of the first semester of 2021. According to the preliminary proposals, they would seek to increase the VAT taxable base, which means that, without raising the rates, a greater number of products would be taxed. Along with this adjustment, there will be greater tax refunds to the most vulnerable households, so that they can be compensated for such increases. Consequently, products that do not pay sales tax or that have a 5 percent rate will be subject to the 19 percent surcharge (Semana, 2021).


 


 

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