(Bloomberg) -- Colombia should change its medium-term fiscal plan and tax landowners so the government can buy millions of hectares of land for farmers as part of the implementation of a 2016 peace deal, President Gustavo Petro said.
“We must accept that we need to make a budget effort to buy the land,” Petro said Sunday in Bogota at the installation ceremony of an oversight commission to implement the peace agreement. “I wish for the increase of the land tax to lead us, and this is a subject that Congress should discuss in the tax reform.”
The current fiscal plan was published in June, before Petro took office. It targets cutting Colombia’s fiscal deficit to 3.6% of GDP in 2023 from 5.6% this year, and reducing government debt to 55% of GDP by 2024 from 61% in 2021.
Petro said his plan aims to buy 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of fertile land. Current ownership is mostly concentrated in 1% of landowners, he said. The 2016 peace deal was signed with Marxist guerrillas to end decades of fighting.
“Regardless of that history of violence, what we propose today is: We will buy it,” he said. “We will buy the land at a market price.”
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