José Antonio Ocampo is profiled as Minister of Finance in Colombia

The elected president of Colombia Gustavo Petro appointed José Antonio Ocampo as head of the junction with the outgoing government in the Treasury portfolio, who would be the eventual minister of the same. The name of the head of this portfolio is one of the most anticipated appointments by the market, given that some of the great challenges that this government assumes are related to the government’s fiscal accounts.

It is worth remembering that the elected president has assured that he wants a tax of about 50 billion Colombian pesos (12.207 million dollars), even in recent days he has said that it could be up to 75 billion (18.310 million dollars). That is, it would be the largest in history. In addition, it would be managed this year.

With a long career in the public sector, José Antonio Ocampo, who leads the survey, was director of National Planning and Minister of Finance during the government of Ernesto Samper, and more recently co-director of Banco de la República.

At the international level, he has served as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and until mid-2007 he was United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. From that position, he headed the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Desa), located at the world body’s headquarters in New York, and chaired the UN Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs.

Ocampo is also the most cited Colombian economics author on the Google Scholar platform. With 22,315 citations on that platform, highlighted by publications in the Banco de la República, he is consolidated as the author who has been reviewed the most times in academic works. In addition, the economist was number two on the Repec ranking.

Challenges for the Ministry of Finance

There are not a few areas in which the head of the Treasury portfolio must act. Among the challenges that will be assumed, one of the most relevant will be inflation, which in May reached 9.07% and at the end of this year is above 8 percent.

The deficit of the Fuel Price Stabilization Fund (Fepc) is also one of the first adjustments that must be made, since the outgoing government leaves the accounts paid until March of this year ($14.1 billion, approximately 3,435 million dollars). Going forward, the government will have to use other tools to cover this debt.

Inequality and poverty were one of the problems that led President Petro to victory. Among the arguments was the country’s setback in this field due to the covid and the social – and youth – discontent that was notoriously marked in the elections.

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