Colombian lawmakers seek oversight on sale of state companies

miércoles 11 de noviembre de 2015 17:05 GYT

BOGOTA Nov 11 (Reuters) - A group of Colombian lawmakers has proposed a bill that would modify regulations for selling state-owned companies and require congressional approval for the sale of assets like power generator Isagen.

The proposal comes as the government moves forward to divest its majority stake in the electricity company after the privatization was approved by the country's top judicial authority.

The government hopes to raise at least 5 trillion pesos (some $1.7 billion) from the sale, with the proceeds going to fund roads.

"Congress would have to approve the sale," the Tax Justice Network, one of the principal opponents of the Isagen sale, said in a statement. "The government cannot just notify us, it will have to present a technical plan to justify the sale of assets."

The reform would help safeguard other state companies like electricity distributor ISA and oil company Ecopetrol, the statement said.

"The sale of a business like Isagen cannot be completed without the approval of Congress," leftist Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff, one of the bill's proponents, told Reuters.

Though a date has not been set for the Isagen sale, finance ministry sources said it could take place by the beginning of next year.

($1 = 2,935.86 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Carlos Vargas; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Christian Plumb)