SFC Publishes New COVID-19 Regulations: Congress Resumes Formal Sessions
13 abril 2020

On April 13 the Colombian Financial Superintendency (SFC, for its acronym in Spanish) issued a circular prohibiting Credit Institutions and Specialized Electronic Deposit Societies (SEDPES, for their acronym in Spanish) from charging interests and other surcharges on those benefiting from the Solidarity Income Program. The decree is already in force. The entity has also launched a public consultation on international solvency standards in the context of extreme claims, which will be open to comments until April 24, 2020. Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla announced that the Government was considering promoting a Tax Reform Program in 2021. However, the Minister’s statement was rejected by President Duque who stated that “this is not a time to go into tax reforms”. Finally, both the Senate and the House of Representatives resumed formal sessions this week. 

The circular issued by the SFC provides instructions related to the treatment of subsidies granted by the State by Credit Institutions, or Specialized Electronic Deposit Societies (SEDPES) as part of the Solidarity Income Program. The document establishes that charging commissions, foreclosures and debiting amounts on the amount deposited with social assistance beneficiaries will be considered illegal.

The SFC has also opened a public consultation on a draft standard and attached document with instructions envisaging convergence with international solvency standards in cases of extreme claims. The idea is to provide entities with tools for calculating the right amount of assets regarding the identification of extreme claims. Those interested may send their comments until April 24, 2020, to the following email: [email protected].

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla, announced that the National Government is currently considering the possibility of promoting a new Tax Reform in 2021 because of the social and economic effects unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The economic crisis affecting the country implies far greater public spending to address the problems; but it also implies far less public revenue as a consequence of the economic slowdown arising from the way we are managing the pandemic,” explained the official. Nevertheless, President Duque responded that “this is no time to go into tax reforms, (…) at this moment, to think about how we can increase income through taxes is not only inconvenient, but also unfeasible.”

In addition, the Senate opened its new legislative period, initially set for March 16, on April 13, while the House of Representatives began its formal legislative sessions on April 14. Both plenary sessions and Committee meetings will be held in virtual mode for as long as the State of Emergency lasts. The Chambers are initially expected to focus on the exercise of political control over the actions taken by different sectors and organizations in the context of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.