Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said the government is considering UN proposals to tax unproductive or underutilized lands of big landowners.
The unproductive land tax would be included in the tax reform which will be presented to Congress in March 2012. Underused and unproductive lands account for almost 52% of the national territory.
He said it was of the utmost importance to update the Rural Census in order to bring the collection of taxes on land property up to date as a way to discourage the accumulation of productive soils.
“This commitment is included in the Development Plan and our goal for 2014 is to reach the the updating of at least 70% of rural premises,” said President Santos.
“There is no reason to fear the new mechanisms,” said Santos in relation to the reform. The head of state also announced that a rural development bill will be ready in the next few weeks. The bill will regulate the law of land restitution and will create a National Lands Council to regulate policies.
This body will be headed by the president with the help of the interior, environment and agriculture ministers to regulate issues related to environment, petroleum and mining.
Santos’ announcement followed a report by the United Nations Development Program that adviced a reshuffle of landownership. According to the organization, the inequal distribution of land is one of the main reasons of the country’s poverty and violence.