- Title: Colombians pack stores for VAT-free shopping, in boon to economy amid pandemic
- Date: 4th July 2020
- Summary: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA (JULY 3, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT APPLIANCE SHOP SIGN SHOWING COVID-19 PREVENTION MEASURES PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT APPLIANCE STORE SIGN THAT READS (Spanish) "USE DISINFECTANT GEL IS MANDATORY" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN LINE WAITING TO GET INTO SHOP APPLIANCE SHOP MAN CARRYING TV BOX
- Embargoed: 18th July 2020 03:18
- Keywords: COVID-19 Colombia VAT coronavirus pandemic shops tax-free
- Location: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA / INTERNET
- City: BOGOTA, COLOMBIA / INTERNET
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Budget/Taxation/Revenue,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLE7PS7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: What pandemic? Hundreds of thousands of Colombians braved lengthy lines on Friday (July 3) to take advantage of a one-day lifting of the sales tax, even as the country topped 110,000 coronavirus infections.
The Andean country had been under strict lockdown since late March but has been gradually lifting restrictions.
This is the second value-added tax-free day for the year and a third is expected later in 2020. Colombia's standard VAT rate is 19 percent.
President Ivan Duque has hailed the initiative as a means to jump-start consumption amid soaring unemployment and monthly economic contraction in the double digits, even as some cities enforced lockdown rules which allowed only certain people to leave their homes.
The government has encouraged people to use e-commerce to avoid crowds, but there were reports that some sites were down.
In 2020's first VAT-free shopping day, sales rose at least five times compared with a regular day during the quarantine and were up 30% on levels seen before the lockdown started, the government said in a statement.
(Production: Herbert Villarraga, Javier Andres Rojas, Paul Vieira, Liamar Ramos)
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