The plenary sessions of the House and Senate took three intense days to separately approve all the articles of the draft of the National Development Plan of the government of Gustavo Petro, which contemplates 1,154 billion pesos for the next four years.
(Also read: The articles that fell from the PND and those that fell but could be revived)
Although the Senate ended its discussion on Wednesday at 10 pm, the representatives did the same yesterday. However, Due to the number of proposals and new articles that did not stop arriving throughout the day, the debate was prolonged to the point that the work of the 11 conciliators had to be rushed. «We are not enough», confessed the president of the Chamber, David Racero, who affirmed that the reconciliation of the texts would be summoned at dawn.
Among the main points of the conciliation, since they are the articles that were approved on one side and fell on the other, there are some such as article 8, which seeks to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Commission for the Clarification of the TRUE. This occurred in the Chamber, but in the Senate it fell.
(You may also be interested in: What does the approved article of the PND propose that would encourage corruption?)
Another hot topic is that of the monkey who spoke of giving free rein to the change of designs on the first line of the Bogotá metro. While in the Senate the expression «bury the projects» was removed from the wording of this article, in the Chamber it was produced as it came in the project presentation.
There is also the issue of hiring public-popular associations. Although an article was found in the Senate so that they can carry out contracts at the national level for up to 6,000 minimum wages, in the Chamber it fell down. «It is extremely dangerous because it talks about direct hiring and we will not be able to control it,» said representative Christian Garcés.
Likewise, article 207 was dropped in the plenary session of the Senate, but not in the Chamber. This seeks to increase from 1 to 6 percent the electricity transfers that must be paid by companies that build non-conventional renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar.
On the side of the Chamber, a series of articles that remained alive in the Senate also fell. For example, 130, which stated that providers of telecommunications networks and services that are holders of permits for the use of the radioelectric spectrum identified for international mobile telecommunications should share the radioelectric spectrum.
(Also: Express expropriation?: the short life of another controversial attempt to put it in PND)
The representatives also remove 304, which talks about implementing a new national sexual rights policy; Articles 330 and 331, which state that the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation (APC) will be called the Colombian International Cooperation Agency (ACI); and 354, related to the domain extinction law.
Both in the plenary session of the Chamber and the Senate, a series of articles were dropped, therefore, they did not enter the conciliation process. For example, they agreed to knock down two of the extraordinary powers that were going to be granted to President Gustavo Petro. The one that gave him the power for a term of six months to create a new National Agency for Digital Security and Affairs and the one that was going to allow him to create a national entity to execute Space Plans and environmental projects was knocked down.
Another article that fell both in the Chamber and in the Senate was a new one that sought to encourage the entire natural gas value chain to remain in the hands of a few agents. All of this with the aim of ensuring the supply and reliability of the domestic natural gas public service. Likewise, 218, which talks about the vertical integration of the electric power sector, was eliminated on both sides.
On the other hand, the Chamber accepted the reform to article 55 that will be determined by the Ministry of Agriculture. It is the proposal that has been developed with the representative Tamara Argote and that was linked to the «express expropriation» controversy. This article, contrary to the polemic, bets on the purchase of land voluntarily.
The proposal had already been approved by the Senate, so it is one of the articles that did not need to be reconciled and is already firm in the final text of the National Development Plan. The text that was supported by the Government establishes mechanisms to «expedite the purchase of land» on a voluntary basis.
(Keep reading: Senate tombs vertical integration in energy and more taxes for solar and wind)
Faculties that were saved
Some of the extraordinary powers that the National Development Plan 2022-2026 gives to President Gustavo Petro were saved in the three-day discussion in the Congress of the Republic.
At last, The president may modify for a term of six months the programs of Families and Youth in Action that are within Social Prosperity. In addition, it will also have powers to acquire the infrastructure of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Bogotá.
Likewise, the one that allows him to create a public entity to promote the improvement of neighborhood roads throughout the country and with which he can strengthen the Bicentennial Group, which came from the previous government, passed.