Colombia’s economy to grow 5% in 2012: Finance Minister

Colombia’s finance minister says he expects the national economy will grow by 5% in 2012 in an interview with W Radio Wednesday.

Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said that in order “not to count one’s chickens before they hatch” the government hopes the growth will be around the 4% mark.

He said that they cannot expect excessively high income despite announcing Tuesday that tax revenue had surged 25% to $43.4 billion. He said that the country will end the year with a public sector deficit of 2.9%, a lower figure than 2010.

The Finance Minister indicated that next year it is hoped that the deficit in the public sector will come in at 1.8%. He also said that the government debt for 2011 decreased.

Echeverry advised the business community of the country to avoid indebting itself because in 2012 it in uncertain what could happen in Europe.

He said that the government will start the year with $2.07 billion available in the central bank and abroad and the goal is to end the year with $3.12 billion in liquidity.

He also said that outside of the country the government will borrow $3 billion to pay the debt owed to foreign banks.

The Colombian subsidiary of the Spanish bank BBVA announced Tuesday its prediction that the Colombian economy will have grown by 5% in 2011 and 5.4% in 2012.

Colombia’s central bank said the economy may have expanded by as much as 6% in 2011.

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