April 9, 2021
1. Alberto Fernández announces new restrictions against increase in COVID-19 cases
On Wednesday night, President Alberto Fernández, isolated after having contracted COVID-19, announced via press conference a new series of measures intended to contain a recent increase in case. He stated that in high-risk areas, social events at homes and gatherings in open-air public spaces over 20 people, as well as mobility restrictions between midnight and 6AM every day. Additionally, only essential workers, the educational community and those with authorization can use Buenos Aires public transit. In areas of the country considered medium-risk, the national government will leave decision-making up to provincial governors to restrict mobility and prevent an increase in cases. These measures will be in place through April 30th, having begun midnight on April 9th. Additionally, a final decision has been made between the national government and provincial authorities from Buenos Aires that will establish measures in line with national government recommendations; the city of Buenos Aires followed suit with a similar set of restrictions. The opposition coalition, Juntos por el Cambio, released a statement prior to the president’s press conference opposing restrictions to liberties and economic activities. These restrictions were made official through Decree 235/21 published in the Official Gazette.
2. Interior Commerce Secretary reinforces price and supply controls
During an interview with Radio Nacional, Interior Commerce Secretary Paula Español spoke about the price control policies her office is taking. Specifically, she discussed the country’s economic reactivation information system (SIPRE) and assured that it gives insights into whether or not there are speculation or supply problems. She also stated that the personal and recurring controls will be strengthened. In this sense, she stated that, thanks to meetings with the food and beverages sector, there are “advances” that will allow for the identification of the problems in the supply chain and stated that a recent letter from the sector’s coordinating board (COPAL) rejecting the new controls was exaggerated.
3. The government will send a bill to postpone the primary elections
The ruling party confirmed that they will start working on a bill to postpone one month the primary elections (PASO), as well as the general elections. This decision was the result of a meeting held by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, the Minister of Interior, Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro and the leaders of the Juntos por el Cambio block in the Lower House, Cristian Ritondo (PRO), Mario Negri (UCR) and Juan Manuel López (Civic Coalition); the pro-government deputies Cecilia Moreau and Cristina Álvarez Rodríguez also participated. De Pedro suggested September 12th and November 14th, respectively, as possible dates. On the other hand, Sergio Massa confirmed that they will hold another meeting with the rest of the opposition blocs, such as the left and the provincial parties. However, Mario Negri, head of the opposition block, clarified, “We did not come to sign anything today, just to listen […] We will continue talking and we are going to transfer the proposal to the board of Juntos por el Cambio when it is ready”.
4. The Senate passed into law the Income Tax reform bill
On Thursday night, the national Senate unanimously approved the bill to reform the Income Tax and update the single tax categories, aiming to bring relief to the middle class; thus, only remains the promulgation and regulation by the Executive Power. This way, those workers who receive up to AR$ 150,000 per month, that is, more than 1.3 million workers, will be exempt from paying the tax. Although Juntos por el Cambio supported the initiative, members of that bloc considered it “a patch” due to the economic crisis, aggravated by the restrictive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. President creates framework to promote investment into exports
Via Decree 234/21, the Fernández administration created a framework to promote investment into exports. This has the objective of making currency controls flexible for exporters and provide visibility for both foreign direct investment and domestic investment financed with foreign credit. The framework will cover investments to support new projects including industrial forestry, mining, hydrocarbon production, manufacturing and agriculture, as well as the broadening of existing business units that require investments to boost production. The announcement was made by President Fernández, accompanied by Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and Cabinet Vice Chief Cecilai Todesca. Additionally, business leaders Alfredo Vitaller (Mining Business Chamber), Daniel Herrero (Toyota), Martín Galdeano (Ford), Thomas Owsianski (Volkswagen), Federico Veller (Profertil), Teófilo Lacroze (Raizen) and Juan Martín Bulgheroni (Pan-American Energy).