March 5, 2021


1. President Alberto Fernández inaugurates ordinary legislative sessions

President Alberto Fernández inaugurated ordinary legislative sessions with a speech detailing the government’s priorities for the year. “I come to this session with my convictions intact, to propose that we take a moment of collective reflection,” stated the president. His speech included strong criticism direct towards former President Mauricio Macri, and promised an investigation for fraud and embezzlement of public funds. Furthermore, he criticized the judicial branch and anticipated that he would propose reforms to limit the power of the Supreme Court. Later on, he summarized the economic actions taken to curtail the effects of the pandemic: the creation of the IFE (Emergency Family Income), the suspension of public utilities cuts, doubling the compensation for fired workers, the ATP (Emergency Employment Protection), food cards, the doubling of pensions and other measures. Among the items he projected would take effect this year, he evaluated technology, connectivity, public works and infrastructure, renewable energy, and the spurring of resource extraction in the Vaca Muerta shale field.

Página 12: Alberto Fernández, en la apertura de sesiones del Congreso 2021: vacunas, deuda, inflación, desarrollo y justicia, ejes del discurso

La Nación: Apertura de sesiones 2021: Alberto Fernández confrontó con la Justicia y la oposición

2. Economy Minister Guzmán signals IMF as responsible for Argentina’s debt

In an interview given to television channel A24, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán blamed the IMF for what happened in the country. “There is shared responsibility. The IMF loaned money in a way that many consider a politically-charged loan, to support the campaign of the previous presidency at the cost of the Argentina suffering,” he stated. Guzmán’s statements were made in the midst of negotiations with the IMF to agree to a ten-year extended payback plan. Regarding the currency markets, Guzmán rejected the possibility of a devaluation and assured that the government has control of the foreign exchange situation. He also mentioned inflation stating that, “it is an issue with multiple causes, it is not only remedied with monetary emission, but also with an increase in exports to solve the fiscal deficit and changes in behavior.”

Telám: Guzmán: “El FMI es el responsable de lo que pasó en la Argentina”

3. Government meets with representatives from nutrition sector 

Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas received business, guild, labor union, producers and non-nutritional foodstuffs producers from the food processing industry, his second such meeting with these representatives. The minister asked producers to reveal information that determines where unjustified increases in prices were detected, while criticizing the increase of raw materials by 60% (USD). “We have identified important increases [in prices] of consumables in initial stages and industrial stages, that in principle have no justification. Among fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, for example, we observed increases that are very telling – between 40 and 60% in dollars,” stated Kulfas. On the other hand, plastic bottling companies assured that the pandemic provoked the closure of resin producing plants across the world and that demand was concentrated in China, a situation that made the product more expensive in local markets and forced an increase in prices. Ending the meeting, Minister Kulfas stated that, “the job climate is very good. This is a discussion, the objective is to reach agreements and dialogue is fundamental, but this does not lessen the authority of the State. The objective is to reach an agreement so that inflation does not exceed 30% and that salaries can beat inflation. The Secretary of Interior Commerce, Paula Español, stated that, “one thing is that products are bought in dollars because they are imports, another thing is that production is dollarized. It is not the same that one imports a good that must be paid in dollars, and another is that the product is dollarized because they can sell it abroad.”

Infobae: Precios de los alimentos: el Gobierno aseguró que las empresas de insumos aplicaron aumentos del 60% en dólares

BAE: Precios de alimentos: detectan suba en insumos de hasta 60% en dólares durante el 2020

4. Collection of taxes increases 51.9% in February and exceeds inflation for sixth consecutive month

Economy Minister Guzmán’s office released a communication that revealed that tax collection reached ARS $716.6 billion (USD $7.93 billion). He explained increases in collection of 51.9% and 9.6% in nominal and real terms (adjusted for inflation), respectively, compared with the previous year. With this in mind, for the sixth consecutive month, tax collection has exceeded the effect of inflation, with the exception of collections from VAT on domestic production and the charging of taxes on debts and bank credits. “The increase [in tax collection] is due largely to the favorable international market for our chief export products. It was also catalyzed by taxes associated with the Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation law.”

Infobae: La recaudación de impuestos aumentó 51,9% en febrero y por sexto mes consecutivo subió por encima de la inflación

5. Public audience convened to discuss electricity prices

Via Resolution 54/2021 of the Secretariat of Energy, published in the Official Gazette, the government convened a public audience to be held on March 29th, to debate the Tariff Transition Regimen imposed by Transener S.A. Resolution 55/2021, 56/2021, and 57/2021, convened the Provincial Energy Entity of Neuquén (EPEN), and energy transportation companies Transba S.A., Distrocuyo S.A., Transpa S.A., Transco S.A., Transnea S.A., and Transoa S.A., to a public audience for the same day at 2PM. The Argentine Electricity Regulator will reveal transitory tariff prices proposed for the next two years at each meeting, with the goal of “providing an adequate, joint solution that benefits users, as well as concessionaires.”

Telám: Convocan a una audiencia pública para tratar las tarifas eléctricas

Ámbito: Tarifas eléctricas: Gobierno convocó a audiencia pública