The president of the National Association of Businessmen (ANDI) said the government could have avoided Colombia’s economic downturn through more effective strategies aimed at curbing the effects of the global economic crisis.
“The deepening of the slowdown in the first half of this year could have been avoided with more effective policies, but now we must look to save the year with new proposals,” said Luis Carlos Villegas, head of ANDI.
He said that there were four reasons for Colombia’s economic slowdown in the first half of 2012 which were high interest rates, a failure to implement the country’s budget, the revaluation of the peso and low international demand for investment.
Villegas expressed concern over this year’s decrease in agricultural output, caused in large part by the currency revaluation, which has made Colombian products less competitive in the global market, and poor weather conditions which have damaged crops.
An 8.1% decrease in the construction of public works in 2012 compared to the same period last year was also a point of concern for the business leader. The number of building permits issued in 2012 has also decreased dramatically, decreasing as much as 38% in some departments.
Despite the negative indicators, Villegas estimated that Colombia’s industrial output increased between 1 and 2% compared to the first half of 2011.