Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says that his proposed Royalties Bill will help to close the economic gaps in the country, primarily by benefitting youth education, according to a government press release Friday.
The bill, handed to Congress in August of 2010, proposes that royalties received from mining and oil exploration by Colombian localities are pooled into a general fund that is distributed nationwide, in an effort to cut inefficiency and corruption.
“Laws like those of the royalties, that they will finish approving this coming week, will permit us to make a great effort to close the gaps of inequality in this country, not only the inequalities between the few that have a lot and the many that have nothing,” Santos told an audience of over 2,000 mothers in Cali, Valle del Cauca department.
The head of state championed education as an important step for eliminating social inequality, stating that education is key to what “eventually makes the people progress. I have been a believer of this chain that starts in the cradle and ends in the grave.”
According to the Presidential website, the bill will invest 10% of the funds allocated from the exploitation of natural resources into the areas of science and technology.
The bill has sparked protests in nine different Colombian departments, who claim that the government has not compiled with previous agreements aimed at ensuring that the interests of petrol-producing regions would not be hurt.