BOGOTA, July 29 (Reuters) - Colombia's government on Wednesday sent a 2021 budget proposal of 314 trillion pesos ($84.4 billion) - 8.3% higher than this year's - to Congress, the finance ministry said.
The 2020 budget was increased to 290 trillion pesos from a lower original figure to meet needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, which must be approved by Congress before Oct. 20, includes proposed investment of 53.1 trillion pesos in 2021, up 23% on 2020 investment forecasts.
Latin America's fourth-largest economy was forced to abandon plans to keep lowering its fiscal deficit, as it had in recent years, amid increased demand for resources during a COVID-19 lockdown. Colombia is expected to increase its debt load drastically this year and next, risking its credit ratings.
"This government is committed to recovering the growth trends and job creation seen before the arrival of the pandemic," Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla said in a statement.
The budget is predicated on an economic growth target of 6% for 2021, compared with a forecast contraction of 5.5% in 2020, and uses a fiscal deficit target for 2021 of 5.1% of gross domestic product.
The proposal allocates 185 trillion pesos for government operating costs, 11% more than this year, while proposed debt payments will rise 42% to 75.9 trillion pesos.
The government will also allocate 42.5 trillion pesos for pensions, while the education, defense and health sectors will receive 47 trillion pesos, 39 trillion pesos and 36 trillion pesos, respectively.
($1 = 3,718.69 Colombian pesos) (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Dan Grebler)