Assessment and recommendations

Economic context and drivers for regulatory reform

Colombia is a unitary constitutional republic, composed of 32 departments (departamentos), as well as municipalities, special districts, and one Capital-District (Distrito-Capital) in Bogota. The Government of Colombia (GOC) functions within the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic as established in the Constitution of 1991. In accordance with the principle of separation of powers, government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The Political Constitution of 1991 is the highest legal instrument in the country. Its promulgation brought a change in the function of the State, which left its interventionist role as exclusive service provider and opened up the possibility of private sector participation in the economy, increasing competition. The Colombian State is now in charge of issuing public policies and regulations, being responsible mainly for supervision and control. This move was accompanied by the creation of regulatory commissions, which contributed to establish more predictable, coherent, and transparent regulatory frameworks where private participation is encouraged.

Several administrative reforms have accompanied this process with the aim to have a more professional, transparent and citizen-oriented public administration. The GOC has embarked in administrative simplification efforts, with the overarching goal of streamlining formalities that affect business and citizens. The GOC has also created regulatory commissions for utilities sectors and has separated out the supervisory function through the establishment of Superintendencias. It has also introduced principles and tools to improve the quality of regulations, which have focused mainly on legislative technique.

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