NEW YORK, Oct 7 (IFR) - A setback in the peace process with
the FARC rebel group will not derail Colombia's fiscal reform
agenda, the country's head of public credit told IFR on Friday.
The market had been bullish on the oil exporting country
following a rebound in crude amid expectations that the
sovereign would soon reap a peace dividend from the end of Latin
America's longest running civil war.
But the surprise no vote last weekend took investors off
guard and raised questions about the government's ability to get
through tax reforms seen as vital to supporting Colombia's
credit standing among rating agencies.
"We need to have everyone sit at the table so that we can
have an agreement that is acceptable for all Colombians," Ana
Milena Lopez Rocha, Colombia's director general of public
credit, said on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank meetings.
"The economic agenda remains as it was before the
A reform bill aimed at simplifying the tax code and
increasing fiscal revenues over the coming years is expected to
land in Congress next week.
Lopez said the government made no changes to the bill
following the October 2 referendum that rejected President Juan
Manuel Santos's peace proposal.
Colombia is expected to cut its fiscal deficit to 3.3% of
GDP in 2017 from 3.9% this year to comply with its fiscal
The tax reform is designed achieve that goal and give
investors a long-term view on what taxation will be over the
coming years, said Lopez.
To meet its external financing need for 2017, Colombia plans
to raise US$3bn from the international capital markets and an
additional US$3bn from multilateral agencies.
"We have a fair bit of dollar cash so we don't have a need
to prefinance," said Lopez. "That said, we always look at
(Reporting by Davide Scigliuzzo; Editing by Paul Kilby)