Über “Uber” – Why Colombia Needs the Ride-hailing Company

Über “Uber” - Why Colombia Needs the Ride-hailing Company

Felipe Santamaria, Copy Editor

Kicking Uber out of Colombia is a setback for the country’s development. Uber, one of the world’s most successful startups, has been controversial since its conception. In fact, it has already been banned in countries like China, Hungary, and Denmark. However, being illegal does not necessarily mean it’s harmful. On the contrary, it is of great help to Colombian society. Uber Colombia provided income for thousands of drivers, it solved mobility issues for millions of users and it paid more than ten million dollars a year in taxes. 

Colombia’s unemployment rate is around 10%, meaning that there are about 2.4 million Colombians seeking job opportunities. Uber provided a solution for those in need of more cash and gave them a side income. With 80,000 partners in Colombia, Uber made a small but important improvement in the country’s unemployment. Yet, there has been a lot of criticism about how Uber manages its partners, as it does not provide them with health insurance,  a pension plan, or with insurance because they are not employees. It would certainly be better if Uber’s partners received employment benefits, but its business model would be impossible to have; therefore, it is better to have a partial solution for many than a perfect one for none. 

Uber has also contributed greatly to the Colombian tax system. It has paid around 70 billion COP in the last year and a half. Contrary to other systems such as taxis, Uber has formalized its tax payment. Uber Colombia not only pays income taxes but sales taxes, which Colombia as a country receives, and it benefits the country by improving its infrastructure. Many argue that those who pay the taxes are the customers and not Uber itself, yet, if Uber did not exist, these taxes would not be collected. 

Possibly the worst effect of kicking Uber out of Colombia is the dreadful image of the country this portrays. Colombia benefits greatly from international investments and it needs many outside resources to exploit the country’s full economic potential. However, the much-needed investments won’t come to Colombia if existing international companies like Uber are kicked out. Colombia’s international rating as a safe country to invest in will probably tumble.

Kicking Uber out of Colombia is a huge mistake. Uber leaves behind 88,000 people with no extra income, a 10 million dollar hole in the government’s budget, and a dark perspective on Colombia’s protection of international enterprises. If Uber had not left Colombia, all of this gloomy news would be quite the opposite. “Uber should have never left Colombia,” said financial engineering student, Ana Sofia Ramirez.