President Santos announced a big change in his government at the beginning of the week. His current Minister of Interior, German Vargas Lleras, will be now in charge of the Ministry of Housing in order to complete one of his government challenges: give 100.000 houses to the most vulnerable population.
El Colombiano’s Editorial today emphasises that Santos has turned his government towards populism. According to the newspaper, the new public policy is not well planned as there are no statistics that confirm that it is going to work or that it is even possible. This program is not part of the Development Plan, which means there is not budget for that, so the resources have to be found by other means.
The bill will be presented as soon as possible to the Congress, but there are still many doubts about it is viability. One of the concerns is the economic growth projection for 2012 and 2013. Apparently it is going to be less than in 2011, which means the income of the public sector will be affected, hence the goals proposed for the government wouldn’t be accomplished.
Furthermore, the subsidy of 100% of the houses could generate leaks in the social program. That’s why the government has been giving conditional subsides in its program “Familias en Acción”. Likewise, according to the Constitution, any public branch can make donations to natural or legal entity. Free houses are basically a donation.
Therefore, it is not clear where, when and how those new houses will be built. But what it is clear is the political movement with the appointment of Vargas Lleras as leader of the program. His presidential desire is very well known, and it is the reason why the President appointed him and not a technician specialized in the issue.