Colombia lacks funds to invest in new defence system, says minister

3 Oct 18

The Colombian defence minister has said the government has no plans to buy an anti-aircraft missile defence system to modernise its air force because of budget constraints.

This comes as military sources told Reuters last week the country was looking to acquire a system.

But defence minister Guillermo Botero said in congress on Tuesday: “We are not going to invest 1.1 trillion pesos ($367.4m) in anti-aircraft defence for the time being, because among other reasons, we do not have the budget.”

The South American country, which derives some 20% of its national income from oil, is still recovering from the global fall in oil prices.

According to the World Bank, economic growth in the country slowed to 1.8% in 2017 but is expected to strengthen gradually over the 2918-20 period to 3.6%.

Iván Duque Márquez was appointed president of Colombia in August and has insisted on austerity and improving public financial management during his term, which ends in 2022.

He is also due to present a tax reform plan to the congress, which should take effect on January 2019.

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