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Colombia Increases 2013 Budget 12.2% to 185.5 Trillion Pesos

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July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Colombia’s government increased its 2013 budget by 12.2 percent over this year to 185.5 trillion pesos ($103.5 billion) in legislation to be presented to congress, Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said today at a news conference in Bogota.

Spending on defense and police will rise 7.8 percent to 26.3 trillion pesos in 2013 from 24.4 trillion pesos, the minister said. Without debt payments, the 2013 budget comes to 139 trillion pesos, up from 126.69 trillion pesos in 2012’s overall budget of 165.3 trillion pesos.

“This budget allows us to reduce debt and the fiscal deficit, and generate investment and savings. This helps protect ourselves from shocks coming from the crisis and international slowdown,” Echeverry said.

Health spending will rise to 11.6 trillion pesos from 11.3 trillion pesos while the government plans an outlay of 6.3 trillion pesos on transport infrastructure. The budget calls for education spending of 24.9 trillion pesos, up from 23.9 trillion pesos.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Walsh at hlwalsh@bloomberg.net

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