Progress on Bogota Metro Project, Though Funding Issues Persist
Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro unveiled the final design of the Bogota Metro’s first line on October 7. This first planned underground line will contain 27 kilometers of track and an equal number of stations, move 50,000 passengers per hour (900,000 per day), and will cost USD 7.5 billion, according to officials. Petro announced that the first line will be running by 2018, though questions remain regarding funding, and cost estimates for the project have more than doubled since 2011. National government officials warned that other projects would need to be delayed in order to compensate for the increase in cost. For decades, government officials have studied the possibility of constructing a metro system in Bogota. In April, President Santos called the project “a necessity” for the city of 7 million, where many commuters currently rely on the “Transmilenio,” a bus rapid transit system with limited capacity. (metrodebogota.gov.co).
Oil Production in Colombia Averages 993,000 barrels per day in September
Colombian oil production fell 0.6 percent compared to August to 993,000 bpd, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). This slight drop in production was due to “technical and operation” restrictions and continued security issues, the MME announced in a press statement. To date, oil production in 2014 averaged 982,700 bpd falling short of the government’s goal of 1 million bpd. Average gas production during September totaled 1,119 million cubic feet per day, representing an increase of 3.32 percent compared to August.
Colombia Declares Panama a “Tax Haven”
The Colombian National Tax and Customs Authority (DIAN) added Panama to its list of “tax havens” on October 7after Panama failed to sign a bilateral agreement to exchange tax information. The goal of the bilateral agreement, according to officials, is to receive greater clarity on Colombian assets in Panama so that information can be included in a tax overhaul bill being debated in Congress. Due to its favorable tax laws, Panama is the largest foreign investment market for Colombians.
As a result of this declaration, taxes on money transfers to Panama will be raised from 10 percent to 33 percent, and Colombians will be barred from deducting purchases made in Panama on their tax returns. The government of Panama decried the decision. The United States and Colombia are currently negotiating a double taxation treaty that will create a solid framework for investors and authorities of the two countries and provide a reciprocal agreement not to re-tax repatriated income earned; negotiations are expected to conclude in 2015.