December 17, 2014
Capitanich praises subsidy policies during Lower House briefing
Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich revealed that the government would be making new announcements concerning the struggling automotive industry, in a briefing to the Lower House marked by the absence of opposition lawmakers.
Capitanich briefed the House on major national topics for the second time, albeit without the attendance of main opposition figures, who decided to vacate their seats in protest at not being able to cross-examine the minister.
Responding to questions from Victory Front and allied legislators, as well as members of the opposing Federal Compromise, Leftist Front and Popular Unity parties, Capitanich revealed that the government was preparing "imminent announcements" regarding the automotive sector, which has seen sharp downturns in the first months of 2014.
The Cabinet Chief declined to give details, stating only that it would include new agreements with Brazil and take place in the coming week under the supervision of Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, Industry counterpart Débora Giorgi and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner."We believe there is a positive outlook," he stated, while recognising the need to "increase national production of autoparts."
Capitanich also defended taxes on high-end vehicles. "It is not true that they have created problems for the country, on the contrary, the idea is for those who have the most to pay more," he underlined.
The Kirchnerite official said the government’s subsidies policy “has had an effect in people’s pocket, boosting consumption and economic growth”. He also criticised opposition leaders who talk about cutting agrarian export retention taxes, saying that would entail a loss of 78,000 million dollars for the State and a 12,000-dollar reduction in funds transfered to the provinces.
The Cabinet Chief praised the government’s decision to nationalize Argentina’s pension system back in 2008 and highlighted a 60 per cent upsurge in contributions “due to a job increase and the recovery of real wage”. He pointed out that “[Argentina] saved 36,000 millions of pesos that were destined to comissions.”
Earlier today, at Government House, Capitanich described the Congressional briefings as “healthy” and said they encourage “political debate with the people’s representatives.”
“I have faced around 3,000 questions in almost 30 hours [in previous briefings],” Capitanich said during his daily press briefing at Government House, “[today] I will probably face 1,000 more questions.”
The Cabinet Chief briefed lawmakers as set out in article 101 of the National Constitution that compels the minister to “brief the Congress at least once a month” on the government’s course.