March 15th, 2024


1. The Senate debated on DNU 70/2023

After long weeks without calling a meeting, and with endless attempts by the opposition to convene the Senate in the chamber, Victoria Villarruel finally called a special session in the Senate to deal this Thursday with the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) signed by President Javier Milei, which deregulates the economy and modifies more than 300 laws. This generated a strong short-circuit between the head of the Senate and the President of the Nation, Javier Milei, who launched a harsh statement against Kirchnerism, the main promoter of the discussion, and against Victoria Villarruel, the head of the Upper House who enabled the debate. “In the run-up to the joint signing of the May Pact, called by the Executive Power with the aim of reconstituting the foundations of the Argentine Republic, the Office of the President expresses its concern for the unilateral decision of some sectors of the political class that intend to advance with their own and unconsulted agenda, in order to hinder the negotiations and the dialogue between the different sectors of the political leadership,” states the official missive. In this context, and after a long debate, the Senate resolved to reject DNU 70/23, with 42 votes against, 25 in favor and 4 abstentions.   

Clarín: Villarruel acepta el pedido de la oposición y convoca a una sesión por el DNU de Milei

2. Inflation and basic food basket indexes were released

February inflation registered an increase of 13.2%, a figure lower than the one estimated by private consulting firms that predicted increases of around 15%. Thus, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported by INDEC showed a cumulative increase of 36.6% so far this year and a year-on-year increase with a new record: 276.2%. Last month’s indicator marked some relief after a 20.6% increase in January and a peak of 25.5% in December, the highest inflation since March 1990. On the other hand, INDEC reported that the Total Basic Food Basket index for February rose by 15.8% compared to the previous month. Thus, a typical family needed $690,900 to not be poor in that period. Meanwhile, the Basic Food Basket, which marks the threshold for not falling into indigence, rose 13.1% and a family needed $322,851 to meet basic food needs. According to INDEC, the basic food basket has a cumulative increase of 34.1% so far this year, while the inter-annual variation reached 290.2%.

Clarín: La inflación fue más baja de lo esperado y empieza a impactar la suba de los servicios: llegó a 13,2% en febrero

3. The Government announced the opening of imports of food and medicines

The presidential spokesman, Manuel Adorni, announced the opening of imports of basic foodstuffs and medicines. For this purpose, it was decided to suspend, for a period of 120 days, the collection of additional VAT and income tax on imports of these products. At the same time, the Central Bank announced the reduction of the payment term for imports of food, beverages and cleaning, care and personal hygiene products: they will go from a payment scheme in four installments at 30, 60, 90 and 120 days to a payment term in only one installment at 30 days. The announcement was made after the Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, met with supermarkets’ representatives to discuss the situation of the prices of the basic food basket. It is estimated that the measure will encourage the importation of basic food basket products whose price in the local market is higher than the international price, which will contribute to greater competition and, consequently, to a drop in inflation and in the price level of these products.

La Nación: Lucha contra la inflación: el Gobierno impulsa la importación de alimentos

4. AmCham Summit 2024 was held

The AmCham Summit 2024 was held, as part of a series organized every year by the American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina. Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, who participated this year, spoke about the economic situation: “Some people want to take some credit for the adjustment, but it was a success. The quasi-fiscal deficit was reduced by another 5 points of the GDP.” Governors Jorge Macri (CABA), Alfredo Cornejo (Mendoza), Martín Llaryora (Córdoba), Ignacio Torres (Chubut) also participated. Llaryora referred to the May Pact called by the President, mentioning that “there is a path that has been started. Dialogue depends on everyone. We are willing. I believe that on May 25 the signature [of the governors] will be in the majority.” On his part, the Governor of Catamarca, Raúl Jalil, referred to mining as a new frontier of development for Argentina. “In lithium we are having many investments, the price is going down and we have to accommodate. But this year Catamarca is going to double lithium production, together with the region. The truth is that what we have done together with Salta and Jujuy is an example of State policies that could be replicated at a national level.” Martín Menem, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation, and Diana Mondino, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Nation, were also present. 

Infobae: AmCham Summit: se realizó la edición 2024 del evento de negocios que organizan las empresas de EEUU en el país

5. Milei fired Secretary of Labor Omar Yasín over the salary increase controversy

This week, a decree establishing a 50% salary increase for high-ranking officials went viral on social networks. The decree contained, among other signatures, that of President Javier Milei, who hours earlier had criticized members of Congress for approving a 30% increase in his per diem. This false step resulted not only in a weakening of his image for his voters, who with their vote for the libertarian sought the reduction of state spending, but was also criticized by former Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which earned him a spat between the two figures on the social network Twitter. In order to overcome this issue, he dismissed the Secretary of Labor, Omar Yasin, in the middle of the crisis due to the increase of salaries to high-ranking officials, including the presidency. On the one hand, he blamed Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former president of the Nation, The dismissal took place after a television interview in La Nación+, where Milei announced the dismissal of the now former secretary. In Casa Rosada it is rumored that the real responsibility for this event was with the Secretary of State Transformation and Public Function, Armando Guibert, close to Posse. The decision to increase salaries to high-level officials, then, would have been enabled by Posse due to the difficulty in recruiting personnel for vacant positions. Yasin’s dismissal was also interpreted as an attempt by Milei to calm the controversy after facing criticism and losing credibility, especially after a public confrontation over legislators’ per diem increases. On the other hand, Milei’s action to protect Guibert and Posse, and displace Yasin instead, is considered to be part of an internal struggle in the Casa Rosada, where Labor is under pressure to limit salary increases above the official guideline.

El País: Milei despide a su secretario de Trabajo para enterrar la polémica por el aumento de sueldos en el Ejecutivo