Colombia eyes $1.1 bln ’11 spending on key sectors

* Finmin sees no change to 2011 budget’s amount

* Cenbank chief sees deficit at 4.3 pct next year

BOGOTA, Aug 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Colombia’s government said on
Wednesday it would change the composition of the 2011 budget to
allocate additional spending of more than $1 billion on
infrastructure, agriculture, mining, technology and housing.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office on Aug. 7,
has said he would focus on what he called “the five locomotives
of growth” to boost the economy.

“The two trillion pesos ($1.1 billion) that we have to
distribute for the locomotives will allow us enough fuel so
agriculture starts off at a solid pace, housing has the
take-off we hope and infrastructure has a way to be
competitive,” Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said.

Speaking to legislative committees on budgetary and
economic affairs, Echeverry said next year’s budget total —
which the outgoing government proposed at 147.3 trillion pesos
— would not change. [ID:nN29215700]

To finance that spending, Santos’ government plans debt
management operations to reduce service payments in 2011,
Echeverry said, without elaborating what type of operations
would be undertaken.

“We believe the way (to finance the 2 trillion pesos) must
be by lowering the amount of service payments so we can use the
fiscal space for more spending and that implies the debt
management we’ll undertake next year,” he said.

Central Bank Governor Jose Dario Uribe told lawmakers that
the 2011 budget would imply a central government deficit of 4.3
percent of gross domestic product, higher than the previous
projection of 3.9 percent.

The Andean nation is seeing a recovery in demand this year
— with expected growth of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent — after
slower growth last year due to the world financial crisis.

Santos, a former defense chief and finance minister, has
vowed to continue with the former president’s pro-investor
business polices and a tough line against Marxist rebels that
has opened the nation to more foreign investment.
(Reporting by Javier Mozzo; Writing by Jack Kimball, Editing
by Chizu Nomiyama)

Colombia eyes $1.1 bln ’11 spending on key sectors