Details of Colombia’s 2014 national budget were announced by president Santos on Monday after being passed by congress last week.
Santos claimed that the budget “is the biggest in the history of this administration, 203 billion pesos [$107 million], of which 110 will be earmarked for social investment.”
The budget for 2014 will be 7.4% larger than last year’s budget of 189 billion pesos ($100 million).
Key aspects of the budget that the president applauded were the expansion of the Families in Action program, which will allegedly lead to a 50 percent increase participation, and the expansion of the program for Colombian seniors, which will be available to an estimated 1,300,000 seniors.
According to economics website Dinero, $60.5 million (56.1%) of the budget will be spent on government functions, $22.6 million (20.9%) will go towards servicing the country’s debt, and $25 million (23%) towards investment.
But despite Santos’s hailing of the budget as a success, he is running into problems due to the upcoming presidential elections in May 25, 2014. The “Law of Guarantees,” passed in 2005, imposes restrictions on government spending for the six months preceding an election, meaning that the restriction will come into effect next month.
In light of this, Santos has given orders to all ministers of the office to run the budgets allocated to their portfolios before the restriction takes effect. He said shortly after a meeting with the Council of Ministers: “I have instructed ministers to start executing what needs to be done and that everything that has to do with the Law of Guarantees be put into force before this restriction.”