Gustavo Petro addresses bankers at the Asobancaria convention

This Friday, in Cartagena, the closing ceremony of the Banking Convention was held, which was attended by the President Gustavo Petro and of Hernando Jose Gomez, president of Asobancaria, the guild of financial entities in the country.

(Also: Petro: The president’s idea for any patrolman to become a general)

In his speech, Petro first assured: “We are not proposing that the financial sector of a country should be eliminated, but how it can serve for the generation of wealth and its democratization”.

(Read also: Gustavo Petro: the 5 recommendations that HRW makes to the Colombian president)

The president said that “the bank does not generate wealth in itself, it can transfer it, but it is production that generates it”. And that, in this sense, the financial proposal of his government “is that banks finance production to create wealth“.

For the president, “financing production is equivalent to democratizing access to credit”. And in this line, he also spoke of the ‘drip’, and underlined: “What the appearance of the ‘drip’ implies is an inability of the financial sector to touch the popular economy and the economy peasant, which shows a way of building”.

(Interesting: Petro Government: why do they say they want to return the monomers?)

Petro spoke of the “transfer of wealth through the financial sector to production”. And he explained that this essentially means that “the Colombian economy is more egalitarian”.

In the same way, he mentions the financing of activities with fossil fuels: “We must stop financing carbon activities, which is difficult, because we can see that a good part of the liquidity is with royalties, with deposits that have to do with the oil industry”. And he said ‘it’s not just with pilot plans’ but ‘it has to be a fast, forceful and substantial movement’.

So, in time, the president left the bankers with three messages. First, finance the production. Second, democratize, through funding, the production. And finally, finance the decarbonization of production.

(Keep reading: Petro Tax Reform: These are the warnings from Fitch Ratings)

“These are the tasks I would leave to discuss between you and us. If we don’t, Colombia will continue to be rickety, unequal, violent and completely out of touch with the new technological directions that humanity must take to overcome the climate crisis,” he added.

“Our nature is commitment to Colombia”

At the start of the event, Hernando José Gómez pointed out that Asobancaria, in the last two years, has disbursed “860 billion pesos in loans for families and businesses and, in the last decade, we have increased the financial deepening indicator as a percentage of GDP by 16 points”.

(Keep reading: the underlying reasons why banks are tightening the credit key)

He also pointed out that, since 2018, “financial institutions have invested around 1 billion pesos in innovation, giving way to more than 470 incremental and disruptive innovations”.

The President of Asobancaria assured: “We are a solid, innovative, dynamic and determined bank. Our nature is commitment to Colombia. We play with the country“.

(Also: Minimum wage: The effects a ‘crushing increase’ would have)

Ocampo talks about tax reform

Earlier, José Antonio Ocampo, Minister of Finance, spoke at the tax reform event and explained that some of the provisions that were delivered regarding the proposal are already under review.

One of them is to review the list of ultra-processed foods on which what this government has called a “health tax” is going to be imposed. “Maybe we rationalize it a bit, but the two taxes, sugary drinks and ultra-processed foods, are going to be discussed in Congress. There are already many public health sectors asking us to maintain the initiatives,” the minister said.

(See also: Gasoline: How high do you have to go to cover the hole in the stabilization fund?)

Ocampo added that “there is much less opposition to sugary taxes than to ultra-processed taxes. The proposal that we are going to submit to stakeholders is precisely to rationalize the list of foods.

In his speech, the minister also spoke about Colombia’s GDP in 2022. He said the government expects it to grow, on average, 7% for the end of the yearwhile the most recent medium-term budgetary framework indicated that the figure would be 6.5%.

In addition, he said that the average growth of the Colombian economy for the second half of 2022 should be around 3.7%.


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