June 19, 2020
1. The president announced new controls on transport and defended the intervention of Vicentin
President Alberto Fernandez announced a greater control in buses, trains and subways from today, in order to avoid large conglomerates of people in public transport. On the other hand, Fernandez highlighted the normalization of economic activity in the interior of the country and that the industries have begun to operate all with protocols. With respect to the agriculture company Vicentin, stating that he is “absolutely open to listening to any proposals” regarding its future, but that nobody proposed an alternative to expropriation yet. During the interview, he also discussed the progress on the country’s debt restructuring plans.
Telefe Noticias: Entrevista Alberto Fernández
2. President Fernandez confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing, but hopes for an early agreement
Hours before the expiration of the offer for the debt swap under foreign legislation, President Alberto Fernandez said at noon today that negotiations with the bondholders are progressing “between pulls” but hopes to achieve “a meeting point” to resolve the issue. “We have the confidence to find a point of agreement with the creditors, but no negotiation is easy. I hope that we will be able to resolve it soon and ¿ will get back on our feet,” said the president and added that his intention is “to prevent Argentina from continuing to be seen in the world as a country that does not comply with its obligations, for which we must stop this sad mania of taking on debt that cannot be fulfilled afterwards”. Days ago in a television interview, Alberto Fernandez, declared that the new offer made by the government to the creditors “is not accepted by funds that, although they do not have a large percentage of the debt, they have a great influence on the small creditors”. On the other hand, Jerry Rice, spokesman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stated: “we, of course, are following events very closely and we hope that all parts involved continue to be committed and seek to continue negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement”.
3. Chief of Staff Cafiero presents first management report to Senate
Yesterday Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero presented his first management report before the Senate. He focused on the social and economic protection measures implemented by the government as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, he had responded to 624 primarily pandemic-related questions, the majority associated with the pandemic, monetary issuance, the exchange rate, pensions, the expropriation of Vicentin and the authority to redistribute the federal budget to deal with the pandemic. In his 49-minute speech, Cafiero highlighted that “the State made the necessary decisions to support families and businesses” and said that “the market could never have made these policies”. In addition, he proposed a “democratic dialogue” to the opposition forces that observed the speech via video conference. “The pandemic is going to pass, but there is still a book that was not written. There is a great challenge for Argentina, one of frank and democratic discussion. If there is no dissent, democracy is incomplete, but if there is no social justice, it is impotent. Argentina has always been better at expanding rights,” the official continued. On the other hand, Cafiero anticipated that in the future it will be necessary to have “a new contract with the citizens” that reflects “economic, social and environmental sustainability”.
4. Government begins to define details of the third disbursement to workers
The government’s economic team met to define the details of the third Labor and Production Assistance Program (ATP) in a new context in which 85 percent of the country is resuming commercial and productive activity. Additionally, the government reported to public sector labor unions that they will receive their bonus in quotas with higher salaries, in a bid to serve as an example for provinces and municipalities to do the same with the rest of the country’s workers. Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero, meanwhile, gave a speech in the Senate, where he reported that “critical” industry sectors such as SMEs that could not be revived as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be “contained”.
5. Education Minister refers to possibility of students returning to educational institutions
Education Minister Nicolás Trotta participated in an online meeting hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Argentina. In the virtual conference, Trotta stated that his priority is on the health of its students and staff rather than the return of in-person classes. Additionally, he confirmed that if the trend continues as projected through August, in-person classes could resume in schools and universities across 85% of the country that are in advanced stages in the quarantine phase. Due to the increase in the epidemiological curve, schools in the remaining 15% of the country – including the Buenos Aires metropolitan area – will have to wait for further notice. The minister also reported that new security and health mandates for in-person classes are under discussion.