On 19 October 2016, the Colombian Congress began reviewing proposed tax reforms, with the possibility of ratifying the changes (Semana). The proposed tax changes include eliminating the sales tax on medicine and school supplies as well as basic food basket staples (El Pais). Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas assured the public the reforms do not affect the pensions (El Pais). If approved by Congress, the VAT will be increased from 16 to 19 percent on all other products and services. The tax increase is expected to collect more than 12 billion pesos or US$4 million (Semana).