President Juan Manuel Santos signed into law on Tuesday a measure aimed at achieving a "more equitable" distribution of Colombia's royalties from oil, gas and mining activity.
Almost all of the Andean nation's more than 1,000 municipalities will receive a share of the royalties this year, more than double the number in 2011, Santos said during the signing ceremony.
"Poor provinces such as Choco, such as Nariño, such as Cauca, will have a lot more resources," the president said, referring to regions where dire poverty coexists with valuable reserves of hydrocarbons or minerals.
He said provinces with hydrocarbon and mining activity will receive an average of 300,000 pesos ($165) per inhabitant in royalties this year, compared with 280,000 pesos ($154) during the 2007-2011 period.
The biggest gain, however, will go to provinces that have no oil, gas or valuable minerals, Santos said, noting that those regions will see their take increase from an average of $19 per resident to $64.
Beyond adjusting the formula for distributing royalties, the new legislation changes how the funds are to be administered.
"No longer will the royalties be for construction of small local public works of low impact, much less for whims of the municipal and provincial administrations of the moment ... from today on they will have a very clear focus on regional competitiveness and development," Santos said.
The new system will involve collective decision-making by officials at the local, regional and national level, he said.
Colombia pumps an average of 941,000 barrels per day of oil and has significant deposits of gold, emeralds and coal. EFE