State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has agreed with Colombia’s finance minister to pay the dividend it owes the state abroad and in dollars, to avoid putting more pressure on the peso, the government announced Wednesday.
Ecopetrol agreed to pay a total of $1.4 billion, the dividend payments for August and December, outside of Colombia.
“This way there will be no monetization of these dollars, to ease the pressure of these revenues on the foreign exchange market,” Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said at a press meeting.
The minister announced additional measures to temporarily raise its income while relieving the tax burden on domestic companies.
Echeverry said the government will propose to Congress a urgent reform of the so-called “4 per 1000” transaction tax. Loopholes in the current legislation allow companies to avoid paying these taxes. By closing the loophole the government hopes to collect $223 million in evaded tax payments. The minister announced that after this fix, the government will seek to gradually terminate the transaction tax within two years.
Colombia’s peso has risen approximately 13% against the dollar this year.