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How long does Congress have to approve the Budget Bill and when does it become effective?

By September 30, the Ministry of Finance must conclude preparation of the proposed budget for the coming year, which is signed by the president of the republic and sent to Congress.

In early October, after the Ministry of Finance’s report on the country’s public finance, Congress begins to analyze the budget proposed by the executive for the different government agencies. This task is performed by a Joint Finance Committee, which is made up of 13 senators and 13 representatives and divided into 5 sub-committees, each of which analyzes the budgets proposed for an equal number of Ministries.

The joint committee analyzes reports and proposals prepared by the sub-committees for each ministry. After voting on the proposals, the data provided in the reports are included in the final reports the joint committee submits to the Lower House, which votes on the bill and sends it to the Senate. Any discrepancy between the bills passed in the Lower House and the Senate are resolved by the joint committee.

During the legislative process, modifications to the original bill may be effected through amendments or by vote, with Congress having only the power to decrease expenditures proposed by the executive that are established by permanent laws.

Congress has until November 30 to approve the budget bill for the following year, after which the president of the republic signs the new budget into law. On January 1 of the following year the Budget Law goes into effect, and the activities to execute the committed projects begin.

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