the former vice president German Vargas Lleras revealed this Sunday some measures to promote the construction sector that he personally suggested to Catalina Velasco, current Minister of Housing, and that were not taken into account.

In his Sunday column entitled ‘Deaf Ears’ for EL TIEMPO, Vargas Lleras detailed what he had told the senior official amid his concerns about «the crisis in the construction sector and particularly in housing issues.»

(You can read the complete column by Vargas Lleras here: Deaf Ears).

I remind the Government that the urban and rural housing deficit increased to more than 5.2 million solutions

In the text, he said that the Petro Government does not understand «the dimension or complexity of the problem» that is reflected in figures from the Colombian Chamber of Construction, Camacol: «Today, the sector faces a deep crisis, the biggest that I can remember and with disastrous effects not only for housing, but for the employment and income of the most vulnerable families».

Vargas Lleras, who was Minister of Housing during the government of Juan Manuel Santos, specified the three axes that they suggested to Minister Velasco: free housing, interest rate subsidy for loans and the Mi Casa Ya program.

«I personally commented to the current minister on the advisability of reviving the free housing program to serve that segment of the population below the absolute poverty line without any income or ability to assume credit obligations,» he wrote.

(Keep reading: Camacol’s proposals to raise housing sales figures in Colombia).

Catalina Velasco Campuzano, Minister of Housing

«I reminded him that in the past we had been able to provide free housing to more than 100,000 families under these conditions, which confirmed the success of the program,» he said.

In addition, he suggested continuing with the interest rate subsidy for housing loans requested by middle-class families: «He didn’t listen to me either, and they dismantled it since September.»

His main concern is the program Mi Casa Yawhich grants subsidies for the initial payment of new housing and a coverage in the interest rate of the credit.

«The accounts are very simple: subsidies have ceased to be assigned to the Mi Casa program since October 2022, and as of that date, households that had completed the commercial process for the purchase of their home and were counting on the subsidy to achieve closing the business,» he added.

(Also read: New housing in Colombia: these are the cheapest apartments you can get).

Mi Casa Ya modified the requirements to access the program.

Due to the waiting of families since 2022 for the reserve of the subsidy, according to Vargas Lleras, the Government budget would not be enough to cover the new ones who want to buy a house.

«They are not going to allow new projects to be undertaken and everything will stop. It is clear that the Ministry miscalculated or that they did not have the political will to provide the program with the necessary resources to reactivate the sector,» he stressed.

Read the complete column by Vargas Lleras by clicking here.

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– In Colombia finished houses without selling increased.

– The drop in home sales has already exceeded the year.