Colombia’s tax office has threw its weight behind land reform Thursday by supporting proposals for taxes on the country’s nearly 40 million acres of unproductive land.
The director of the Dian, Juan Ricardo Ortega, said “there are at least 70 billion pesos [approximately $37 billion] in land assets that is money saved or hidden where it is not generating production or employment,” Caracol Radio reported.
He added, “those who are keeping the land without producing anything have to pay a cost.”
According to the Dian, only 17 million acres of Colombia’s 57 million acres of productive land are currently fully productive.
The statement from the Dian follows President Juan Manuel Santos’s announcement on Wednesday that the government would consider United Nations Development Program (UNDP) proposals to tax unproductive land as part of a program of rural reform.
Earlier that day, The UNDP handed their report on Colombia’s rural problem to the president, while calling for a change in government economic policy to favor small and medium scale farmers over large landowners.
According to the UNDP, “democratization of land ownership” through a “transforming rural reform” is necessary to address poverty and inequality in rural Colombia.