They reject the transfer of price control to mayors, limit profits from supermarkets or taxes to money laundering and large fortunes
Apart from qualifying as “scarce” and hitherto impossible to implement the announced measures to limit the negative effects of the mandatory quarantine on the entire economy, businessmen began to show concern about the “interventionist” course that the government would have defined to take in the last days.
They say that there are several signs that go along that path, such as the transfer of price control to the mayors; limit the profits of supermarkets and the possibility of applying two new taxes, one on money laundering and the other on the great fortunes promoted by Máximo and Cristina Kirchner. Also, in another that advances on large corporations.
That is, in announcing measures that allow generating extraordinary resources to finance the reconstruction of the Argentine economy once the coronavirus pandemic is an anecdote or is reduced to a minimal expression of social and health care with less damage to the country’s economy.
The executives admit that the State has been fulfilling in an “excellent” way in its role as health assistant to the entire population in the framework of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and that the Government’s measures are effective in attacking the consequences of the virus . They also recognize that public presence is necessary from an economic and productive point of view to assist the most unprotected sectors and the shops, premises or factories that cannot operate and are in very poor condition.
They also know that the State is underfunded and that assistance is requested from all sectors to get through this deep crisis, but they complain because the public structure itself is not willing to make its own adjustment as the one that is demanded from the private sector to go through this risky moment.
An accumulation of ideas that lit the warning lights in the local corporate world due to the strong content of state interventionism in the market that they attribute to these supposed measures that the ruling party is evaluating to apply.
Suspicions that are also supported by the rejection of Alberto Fernández himself and of the majority of the political class to the reduction of salaries of the officials that a sector of the opposition claims and that is counteracted by the state advance against the sectors that, according to the governing logic, have gained or benefited from money laundering, for example.
In the same package they include the official decision to enter into technical default by kicking until next year the payment of debt in foreign currency for around US $ 10 billion that the Ministry of Economy announced at a time when it is taking negotiated with all creditors to re-profile Argentina’s total indebtedness.
For the Kirchner faction of the Government, the Argentine business community has always been an “enemy” of power. An ideological conception that had strong ancestry in the efforts of Néstor and Cristina but that seemed to have been freed by the more pragmatic gaze of Alberto Fernández.
However, executives believe that this path is now returning, disguised as a request for “effort” to those who have the most to be the ones who collaborate the most in the fight against the pandemic when the strict sanitary stocks are ended. from next April 13.
So they warn that the sectors less related to capital and more combative of the Front of All are gaining ground in the decisions that President Alberto Fernández could announce in the coming hours with the excuse of mitigating the dire consequences that the health fight against the pandemic is leaving on industry, the countryside, commerce and services.
They are not surprised by this “statist” advance because there are some antecedents, such as the Gondolas Law, for example, which regulates the location of products on supermarket shelves.
Or the strong accusations that the Head of State made to the business community in the context of his fight against the Techint Group for the dismissal of 1,450 workers from the construction company of the holding company that Paolo Rocca presides over. A fight that has been toned down for now but is not settled.
But they feel that advancing new measures of this type is now at least “unfair” in light of the efforts that all business sectors are making to collaborate in the fight against Covid-19 are not considered by the authorities.
Not even when, in fact, small, medium, and even large companies are having trouble facing salaries, keeping their structures unchanged, and complying with tax obligations without generating income and without having the possibility of accessing credit lines. announced by the Central Bank for the payment of wages.
The hard wing K, with the vice president’s male son in the lead, do not have the same look and seek to attack the “large corporationss “from the battery of initiatives that are promised as a solution to the strong depression that the country’s economy is suffering, with sectors that are totally paralyzed and others that barely survive.
Supposed solutions that seek to deepen the weight of statism on the private sector to finance precisely the State in the economic crisis that the country has been suffering and that was aggravated by the pandemic and the effects of the quarantine that further collapsed the depressed economy.
Although the spokesmen of the statist “army” are the head of the official bench of Deputies, Máximo Kirchner, and other K referents in the Lower House such as Carlos Heller, businessmen do not see that Alberto Fernández makes many objections to stop some of these alternatives.
In fact, during a report that was known over the weekend, the Head of State endorsed the application of the tax on money laundering, as well as that the mayors begin to take charge of controlling prices.
“We think about the big profits, big exporting companies, supermarket chains, the very rich in Argentina, be they people or companies,” Heller told several media.
But also they think about persecuting the small neighborhood shops, warehouses, greengrocers, butchers and local stores, over which the mayors of each area will be attributed a discretionary power disguised as price controls.
They will receive it when a presidential decree is passed that gives them the police power that until now had the national state within the framework of the Competition Defense Law.
Therefore, the deepening of controls on neighborhood businesses is anticipated, with many closings, fines and penalties that may be ordered with the argument of differences in values with respect to those that currently govern and that are tied to those that they had last March 6.
“It is not the type of measure that one expected in this context, since giving the mayors such power over prices raises many doubts and suspicions and has nothing to do with a free and transparent price market,” argue one of the main retail chains in the country.
Another executive also criticizes the statist turn seen in the latest government movements. “It is worrying about the unconstitutional biasl that is evident in those types of measures that are wanted to be taken, “adds the businessman consulted by iProfessional.
In the case of the supposed tax on profits from supermarkets, the sector directly qualifies it as “ridiculous” if it is taken into account that the sales of large chains collapsed by 40% at the moment, due to the restrictions imposed on this activity within the framework of compulsory social isolation.
In fact, it is already expected that the main foreign supermarket groups will have to request financial assistance from their parent companies again to face uncertainty, in the style of what they already did in 2018 and last year, when the recession also affected their sales.
“It seems that with the Government we are in two different channels in terms of proposals for all of us to face the crisis we are undergoing,” warns one of the businessmen who are promoting a federal movement of businessmen and social sectors across the country that have ended to write a 55 page report with proposals to cross the current scenario.
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