September 25, 2020
1. Economy Minister Martín Guzmán presents 2021 budget to Chamber of Deputies
After revealing the details of the 2021 budget, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán presented the bill to the lower house’s Budget and Finance Commission and took questions from the legislators. Guzmán emphasized the importance of the budget in stabilizing the economy and returning it to “inclusive and stable growth.” He also positioned the budget as the anchor of the macroeconomic transition and the driver of where the administration wants to take the country politically. Regarding the recent measures taken regarding the purchase of dollars to contain the fall in reserves, Guzmán stated that, “they are measures of a transitional situation with the objective of putting the breaks on this drain of reserves – these are not permanent economic policies. They are not policies that make us happy, they are to avoid heading down a path ending in even more instability.”
2. Alberto Fernández gives first speech before United Nations
President Alberto Fernández gave his first speech as head of state at the 75th UN General Assembly. In his address, he highlighted the key policies implemented in Argentina to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic, proposed a structural change in economies to “globalize solidarity” and a joint agreement towards inclusive global development. Additionally, he stated that the coronavirus vaccine must be “global public good, accessible equally” for all countries and highlighted the importance of defending an environmentally-conscious agenda and human rights worldwide. Fernández also spoke about issues facing Argentina like gender inequality, the investigation of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and negotiations surrounding the Falkland Islands.
3. Government extends prohibition on dismissals
In the framework of the health emergency resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the government extended Decree 761/2020 prohibiting dismissals and suspensions without just cause and for reasons of lack of work/force majeure for 60 days – beginning September 27th through November 26th. It is worth noting that these prohibitions will not be applied to workers contracted following the publication of the decree, or for public sector workers.
Ámbito Financiero: El Gobierno prorrogó otros 60 días la prohibición de despidos y suspensiones
4. Unemployment 13.1%, GDP drops -19.1% in second quarter
According to the Argentine statistical agency (INDEC), unemployment in the second quarter of 2020 reached 13.1%, or 1.4 million individuals in the 31 urban centers surveyed. This statistic registered an increase of 2.5% compared to the same timeframe in 2019. On the other hand, Argentina’s GDP decreased -19.1% y/y, the largest such drop in the country’s history. So far in 2020, the economy has fallen -12.6%.
5. Government announces environmentally-focused policies
On Monday, President Alberto Fernández presented an environmental protection plan alongside Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Juan Cabandié. The presentation marked the announcement of several new programs, including a federal plan to eradicate open air landfills; more comprehensive environmental education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education; and the implementation of “Casa Común” – a policy providing technical and financial assistance to local governments to carry out environmentally-focused social projects. Through this group of measures, the national government hopes to implement an integral state policy towards sustainability, responsible consumption and care for the environment.