Colombians urged to start Xmas shopping to boost economy

Colombian President Ivan Duque has urged the citizens of the country to start their Christmas shopping from November in order to boost the economy amid the coronavirus-induced slowdown.

During a meeting of the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecamaras), the President on Friday urged the citizens to embrace “the idea of going out early for Christmas” and to start making holiday purchases beginning in mid to late November, reports Xinhua news agency.

The President said that together with the chambers of commerce, he would work in the coming days to promote the initiative in an attempt to boost the economy, which has been damaged by the pandemic, as well as to avoid crowds during the Christmas shopping season.

Duque spoke on how the business sector promotes social transformation in the country, adding that his government is standing by the business sector, as it recognizes that without business development, increased employment and social prosperity cannot occur.

The National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia (DANE) reported on Friday that, after the reactivation of the economy in September, the unemployment rate fell one point compared to August to 15.8 per cent.

Like many countries across the globe, the ongoing pandemic has taken a heavy economic toll in Colombia.

According to the government, the country’s economic activity shrank by 17 per cent in the second quarter, while the unemployment rate reached 21 per cent, which was thus twice as high as a year earlier.

According to the Colombian Finance Ministry, the GDP of the fourth-largest economy in Latin America is projected to decrease by 5.5 per cent in 2020.