Economic emergency: what it is and what powers it would give Petro

Economic emergency: what it is and what powers it would give Petro

Recently, President Gustavo Petro stated that the country must urgently discuss whether to enter into an economic emergency to face and mitigate the risks as a result of the climate crisis and the increase in rainfall during the next three months.

(Read: President Petro announces that gasoline prices will rise in the country).

Isn’t it time for an emergency? The congressmen will be able to give their opinion; the media at the national level, society as a whole; but if we are going to experience a worse episode than 2010, in terms of climate, then the country necessarily has to enter into an economic emergency”, explained the president.

For the leftist leader, the country is coming out of an emergency due to covid-19 to enter another, the climatic one. “The covid left what it left and we haven’t just come out – because the virus is out there – and we are already entering another climatic type. Both have the same origin, and both sides, through science, the ultimate origin is that we are increasingly throwing more gases derived from coal and oil into the atmosphere”, he stressed.

What is an economic emergency and what implications would it have?

Economic crisis


According to the Political Constitution, an economic emergency occurs when there are events that seriously and imminently disturb or threaten the economic order and social or if they constitute a serious public calamity.

In those cases, the president may declare a state of emergency for periods of up to 30 days, which together may not exceed 90 days in the calendar year.

For example, this was the exception state that was declared on March 17, 2020 because it was considered that the crisis generated by covid-19 implied a serious public calamity in the country.

(Keep reading: Will Petro be able to modify energy rates or not?).

With this type of declaration, the head of state can, having the signature of all the ministers, dictate decrees with force of law that are intended exclusively to avert the crisis and prevent the spread of its effects.

These regulations, in addition, must be directly and specifically related to the state of emergency and, according to the Constitution, may, temporarily, establish new taxes or modify existing ones.

In case of transforming those that already exist, the measures will cease to apply at the end of the following fiscal period, unless Congress, during the following year, make them permanent.

Likewise, in the year following the declaration, Congress may repeal, modify or add the decrees referred to in this article, in those matters that they are ordinarily initiated by the Government.

(Read: Why is Petro evaluating decreeing an economic emergency in Colombia?).

Finally, it is stipulated that both the president and the ministers will be responsible when they declare the State of emergency without having presented any of the foreseen circumstances and they will also be due to any abuse committed in the exercise of the powers that the Constitution grants to the Government during the emergency.


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