March 19, 2021
1. Government reinforces controls and demands data and stock prices from over 1,000 large companies
The government created the Information System for the Implementation of Economic Reactivation Policies (SIPRE) via Resolution 237/21 published in the Official Gazette. The plan implements a price and stock monitoring system that hopes to provide early warnings for potential shortages of finished goods or supplies. SIPRE will fall under the auspices of the Subsecretariat of Internal Market Policies and monitor over 1,000 large companies. The plan will be timed in two phases, the first phase beginning in April will begin monitoring companies in the retail sector that invoice ARS $216 million (USD $2.36 million) monthly, those undertaking industrial activities invoicing ARS $215 million (USD $2.35 million) monthly, and those invoicing ARS $80 million (USD $875,627) monthly in the construction sector. The timing of the second phase of the program is unknown for the time being, but will include approximately 1,000 additional businesses. Supermarkets and stores that fall under the SEPA (Argentine Electronic Price Advertising System) must only present information related to supply and stock for the SIPRE.
2. President Alberto Fernández confirms nomination of Martín Soria as new Minister of Justice
In an interview granted to television program “Fuego Amigo,” President Alberto Fernández announced the nomination of Martín Soria as Marcela Losardo’s replacement to head the Ministry of Justice. The future minister, who must first resign his seat in the Chamber of Deputies, was a provincial legislator in the province of Río Negro, and mayor of the city of General Roca. Soria was responsible for the official complaints against former President Mauricio Macri’s judicial picks, and also denounced federal criminal appeals court chief, Gustavo Hornos, for his meetings with Macri. “It will be Martín Soria, because I have been following his actions for several months. He is somebody who worked in the tribunals at one point and understands what is happening in the justice system today, and holds opinions that are similar to mine,” stated President Fernández. Soria’s first priority will be to advance on reforms promised by the president since he took office, and highlighted on March 1st during the opening of ordinary congressional sessions. During his March 1st speech, Fernández mentioned judicial reform, changes to the organic law of the Public Ministry, and the creation of an intermediate tribunal that would limit the Supreme Court’s power
3. Alberto Fernández assures that the IMF agreement will not come “at the cost of the people”
At an event highlighting the first 1,000 public works projects underway in Almirante Brown, Buenos Aires, President Alberto Fernández questioned Macri’s administration of the debt incurred by taking a line of credit from the IMF, and reaffirmed that any agreement made with the multilateral lender would not come at the cost of the Argentine people. Fernández stated that the 1,000 public works plan is worth a little over 10% of the loan that the Macri administration received from the IMF. In this context, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán travelled to New York, where he met with Wall Street executives to promote investment into Argentina. As part of his foreign travels, Guzmán will also meet with IMF head Kristalina Georgieva and U.S. Treasury officials during a visit to Washington D.C. next week.
4. Deputies extend remote legislative sessions
Lower House President Sergio Massa reached an agreement with other legislators to maintain in-person commissions and sessions, but allowing for remote participation until April 30th. This agreement will allow the signing of a bill that raises minimum monthly income exempt from income tax to ARS $150,000 (USD $1,642). On the other hand, Frente de Todos legislator Marcelo Casaretto, introduced a bill that would require justices to pay income tax. Today, only magistrates who entered the judicial system since 2017 pay income tax. The legislator argued that he hoped to “eliminate an unacceptable privilege that judges have over the rest of society.”
5. Alberto Fernández to assume national leadership of Partido Justicialista
The electoral directorate of the Partido Justicialista (Peronist party) will name President Alberto Fernández as the next party leader on a national level. Fernández will be joined by the national partisan council comprised of National Deputy Cristina Álvarez Rodríguez (Frente de Todos – Buenos Aires), governors Axel Kicillof (Buenos Aires) and Juan Manzur (Tucumán), Vice Governor Analía Rach Quiroga (Chaco) and Deputy Lucía Corpacci (Frente de Todos – Catamarca). Current party leader José Luis Gioja, who took charge during a turbulent time for the party in 2016, especially after its defeat at the hands of Mauricio Macri in the 2015 election and a judicial process that shook the party in 2018. In the province of Buenos Aires, selection of the local Peronist leadership closed – where it is expected that the Frente de Todos’ Chamber of Deputies head Máximo Kirchner will take charge.