Colombian budget for 2012 approved

Colombia’s congress approved the national budget for 2012 at $91.2 billion (COP 165.3 trillion) despite protests from a senator that there had not been sufficient debate.

The Finance Ministry said the budget was to reduce poverty, create more employment and guarantee the security of the country.

However, Senator Aurelio Iragorri said that there should be more debate on the amount, according to financial publication Portafolio.

Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverri said the figure was adjusted for the reality of the country and the economic situation. However, he said it would be necessary “to make alterations” to meet the different requirements of the different ministries.

“There have been requests from justice, from transport, education and from many other sectors so we are going to reprioritize,” said Echeverri.

The Justice Department has requested additional resources as, according to Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra the amount the state is being sued for has surpassed $220 billion (COP 400 trillion), reported magazine Dinero. The government estimates the cost of claims, settlements and judgements to be $441 million (COP 800 billion) per year.

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