The Government of Colombia increases solidarity income in the middle of the electoral campaign | International
A few weeks before the legislative elections and presidential elections, the announcement by the Government of Iván Duque to increase solidarity income, a subsidy that was created for the poorest during the pandemic, has generated controversy. The decision that would favor four million people is already being used by political campaigns related to the ruling party, the Democratic Center. This has been denounced by the journalism portal the empty chair, which revealed that Johanna González, a candidate for the House of Representatives for Santander from the Democratic Center, obtained a database of beneficiaries of that subsidy and sent them massive messages to their WhatsApp, using the presidential measure in her campaign. "We are defending the work of President Duque and telling what we are going to do," the politician explained to the media.
On February 22, Duque announced the increase in the subsidy through the director of Social Prosperity, Susana Correa. The official said that the decision had been approved "to respond to the effects of the pandemic in households with the greatest shortages and taking into account that inflation in the food basket has hit them." From now on it will go from 160,000 pesos per month (42 dollars) to 190,000 (approximately 49 dollars).
The periodicity of the subsidy has also changed, which from now on would be delivered one in March and another in May, dates that coincide with the elections. After June, assured the Minister of Finance, José Manuel Restrepo, the amount will change and increase by 60%. Beneficiaries can check if the aid corresponds to them just by entering their identity card number on the page of the Department of Social Prosperity (DPS).
The Solidarity Income subsidy has become one of the flags of President Duque. The transfer of around 42 dollars, however, has been considered insufficient by several congressmen who have promoted a basic income of at least one minimum wage (1,000,000 pesos, approximately 260 dollars) for three months and destined for nine million households. poor, that is, some 30 million Colombians. “40 years ago there were no economic transfers for the most vulnerable. Today we are guaranteeing them to almost four million households through solidarity income and, if we add everything up, we are talking about almost 10 million,” said the president in an interview with this newspaper.
This increase is not the only measure that has generated suspicions due to the chosen moment and the possible electoral advantage. The president chose as the next date for the day without VAT, a day in which the value added tax is annulled to buy clothes or appliances, on March 11, the eve of elections.
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