|Mauricio Cardenas is a new entry this year|
Mauricio Cardenas is the architect of Colombia's latest tax reform, which is set to be enacted during 2016.
The 53 year old, who worked as minister of mines and energy for a year before becoming Colombia's minister of finance and public credit in 2012, and also briefly held the business-friendly minister of economic development role in the 1990s, announced Colombia's intention to undergo a "structural reform" of its tax system late last year.
The government worked with an expert commission to produce a report on the necessary elements of the reform.
"With those elements, with that input, we will create a dialogue with all the involved sectors and be able to present a structural tax reform law in March of next year ," said Cardenas on November 9.
Crude oil is by some distance Colombia's largest export, and the South American country has been hit hard by low prices – which show no signs of recovering as we begin 2016. This also affects the country's ability to exchange foreign currencies. Before beginning to fall in 2013, the Colombian peso had been one of the best-performing currencies in the developing world, rising 65% in value in the previous decade.
The country's need for tax reform is therefore urgent, and it is hoped that the reform will make up for an expected $9 billion in lost revenue by 2020.
Cardenas says that the upcoming reforms are about broadening and shoring up the tax base, with a focus on "making sure our tax system deals in a more effective way with tax evasion, widens the tax base… so that it's not just a few corporations and individuals that take most of the tax burden".
Through his chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development, Cardenas further exerted his influence in 2015 by helping to coordinate the position of developing countries on international monetary issues and forge a stronger, more vocal presence for developing countries during international discussions.