The two-time mayor of Barranquilla and former Governor of Atlántico Alexander ‘Alex’ Char He decided to launch himself into the electoral contest to reach the House of Nariño for the period 2022-2026. The candidate, who participates in the Team for Colombia Coalition, highlighted to Portafolio his achievements in regional development, and how he hopes to take that management to the Presidency of the Republic.
What is the priority in economic matters that Colombia has?
That of the growth of the people, of the country, but not only economically, socially. Our bet is on a great public investment aimed at improving the quality of life of Colombians, competitiveness and productivity and that contributes to a great economic and social dynamic. With support for the private economy, and the promotion of the priority and strategic sectors of the country, supporting the production of raw materials, supplies, goods and services, giving a boost to companies that need it. We did it in Barranquilla and today it is reflected in a better quality of life, a dynamic economy, lower unemployment and a better city. Although it is missing, it is on the way. We have the experience, we know how to do it, where to adjust, where to break the bottlenecks and with all Colombians we can achieve it for the country.
What strategies would you promote to promote employment?
This great commitment to growth will bring with it more employment, of better quality. Labor formalization is a great challenge, we have to incorporate Colombians into the formal labor dynamics, create conditions, generate programs and support to make it attractive and sustainable. We need to improve the income of families, this requires social growth, bets such as child care in gardens that allow mothers to go to work. Youth, women, agriculture, the most vulnerable sectors and people will be a priority. We are going to create the conditions to generate 2 million jobs, lower unemployment to one digit but with more people in the labor market, and we are going to substantially reduce informality.
What would be the focus sectors to boost productivity?
Those required by the country, the most innovative sectors, information technologies, those with export capacity, the agricultural and agro-industrial sector will be a priority. These will benefit from public policies to promote and promote. We have to improve the conditions for doing business, for innovation, entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized businesses, for formal self-employment. Doing business should be easier and cheaper.
How would you promote the development of the regions in Colombia?
With growth throughout the national geography. We are a country of regions, each with its own needs and dynamics, which is why we must work hand in hand, give them tools and support, encourage their fiscal autonomydevelop their skills. What if the entire country had its updated cadastre and the territorial ones had better incomes, more capacity and with the support and accompaniment of the nation, we advance in solutions and development, we need to reduce the inequities that are also regional.
We need taxes that are easy to understand, easy to collect and, above all, easy to pay
Would it promote another tax?
We have one of the most complex tax systems in the world. Various studies show that Colombia’s foregone tax revenue is equivalent to at least 6.5% of its GDP each year, largely due to VAT and income tax exemptions and exclusions. A new tax policyIt must be simpler, clearer, fairer, progressive and more efficient, it must achieve the necessary collection to reduce the fiscal deficit and, at the same time, sustain the necessary investment to generate prosperity.
We propose a Consumption tax with a single rate of 8%, which maintains the exclusion of those common goods from this treatment, such as public services, leases, education, and also exempt the goods of the family basket. We must add a profound process of strengthening the collection capacity, where it supports electronic invoicing and progress towards the formalization of broad sectors of the economy. We will seek to strengthen the VAT refund for those sectors of the 20% of the most vulnerable population in the country. We need taxes that are easy to understand, easy to collect, and above all easy to pay.
What is your position on oil?
Any country sees the energy sovereignty as a matter of national security and of the utmost importance for general prosperity. We are committed to the energy transition and climate change.
The contribution of the hydrocarbon sector is essential for the national economy. It is necessary to continue exploring and searching for oil and natural gas in the country, accompanied by a permanent and monitored environmental management plan, as has been done in various parts of the world. Our priority will be the energy transition. We will support business and citizens.