May 8, 2020
1. Alberto Fernández announces plan for the next phase of preventative mandatory social isolation
On Wednesday, before meeting with his advisory board of infectious disease specialists and other medical experts, President Alberto Fernández stated, “We are creating a protocol to begin reopening certain economic activities from select industrial sectors, like automotive. We are close to reaching our objective of having contagions doubled every 25 days.” In this protocol, Fernández explained, all health precautions will be taken into account, and among other items, avoiding inter-jurisdictional and public transport will be key. Additionally, he suggested that businesses should provide transit for their workers. “This is the plan we have. If we comply, we can go out. If we don’t, we’ll have to continue with the current plan,” stated Fernández referring to the current quarantine phase that ends on Sunday, May 10th and which will be extended with certain protocols. Tonight the president will announce the new form of isolation that will begin on Monday.
2. Economy Minister states that Argentina has a “flexible” position regarding restructuring of debt
The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, held a virtual seminar organized by the Latin American Studies department at Columbia University, where he received strong support from economist and professor, Jeffrey Sachs. Guzmán remarked that in Argentina, “we are flexible and there are multiple combinations that will work to reach an agreement.” Additionally, he stated that Argentina still has time, but reiterated the importance of reaching an agreement that stipulates long-term debt sustainability. “We want a healthy and lasting relationship with our creditors,” highlighted Guzmán at the end of his talk. The government expects a response to the offer before 6 p.m. today, otherwise the negotiation should be extended to 22 May
3. Activities resume in four areas with more than 500,000 people
By means of Administrative Decision 729/2020 published yesterday in the Official Bulletin, the government allowed the resumption of new activities in four zones with more than 500,000 inhabitants. The new exceptions include: Gran Mendoza (Mendoza): liberal professions (lawyers, accountants, etc.) and hair salons; Mar del Plata (Buenos Aires): paint shops, real estate auctioneers and brokers, professionals in economic sciences and professional counsel, surveyors, restaurants with delivery/pick-up options, architecture firms, technical offices and construction development professionals and private works; Salta (Province of Salta): commerce in different forms with limits on the entry and service of customers, restaurants with delivery/pick-up options; Gran Santa Fe and Gran Rosario (Santa Fe): real estate activity and moving services.
4. IDB and CAF grant loans to Argentina
Yesterday, President Alberto Fernández received the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will disburse a record US$1.8 billion this year – the largest amount of financial assistance the organization has provided to Argentina in the last 10 years. The assistance package will be aimed at supporting the health system and the social protection network for the most vulnerable sectors and for economic and employment recovery, with emphasis on micro, small and medium-sized national enterprises. On Tuesday, the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) granted a US$4 billion loan to address the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This loan will be disbursed over the next four years. By 2020, a turnaround of US$ 900 million is planned for infrastructure works, emergency attention in the provinces and social policies aimed at the most vulnerable population.
5. After failures in the virtual simulation, the Chamber of Deputies will not be in session this Saturday
The mixed session simulation -presential and telematic- carried out this week in the Chamber of Deputies will continue this weekend with the training of the legislators to make technical adjustments to the digital platform. Consequently, the session that had been proposed to be called for this Saturday was postponed due to technical inconveniences that were registered in the test session – especially at the time of the congressmen’s log-in when voting. After making the technical adjustments, the president of the Chamber, Sergio Massa, and the heads of the blocks will then have to define when and where the first mixed session will finally be held, which could be next week, once the security of the system is guaranteed.