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Macri Maintains Kirchner Era Price Controls in Argentina

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jan 5, 2017, 12:07 pm
Mauricio Macri's government has decided to extend some price controls on foodstuffs in Argentina (
Mauricio Macri’s government has decided to extend some price controls on foodstuffs in Argentina (Girabsas).

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The Argentine government will extend for four months to the “Careful Pricing” plan that began under the tenure of his predecessor Cristina Kirchner in January 2014, in order to oversee the pricing of certain products amid rising inflation in Argentina.

Although negotiations are still ongoing with several suppliers, official sources confirmed to the newspaper La Nación that the measure would be announced this Friday, January 6, with an average price increase of 3%.

The Argentine daily notes, in an article published on Thursday, January 5, that the government of Mauricio Macri intends to generate a strong domestic consumption in the first quarter thanks to the slowdown in prices and the increase in wages. In recent months, consumption fell by around 7% year-over-year.

Macri has also pledged greater public works in the first quarter of the year in order to stimulate economic recovery and help the construction sector, one of the hardest hit by the recession.

The government also told La Nación that there will be changes in some of the products that are part of the official price control basket, and that even some of the goods that currently in the program “will increase their participation”.

Many small and medium enterprises that benefited during the Kirchner era under the price control regime will continue to do so under the extension. According to data provided in 2016 by the Undersecretariat of Internal Commerce, 40% of the 82 suppliers participating in the program are small and medium-sized enterprises.

The last revision of “Careful Pricing” was on September 6, which included a total of 530 products available in 2,250 supermarkets across the country. In addition, 177 products were added to the list, and healthier foods and beverages were also added.

The average increase in product prices for the last four months has been 2.49%, La Nación said.

Supermarkets negotiate prices directly with companies and generally, the result is reported first to the large supermarket chains and then to the retail chains.

A well-known hypermarket noted to La Nación that at first they were critical of the program, but that today “it does not bother them.” They added that “it is more of an advantage. The customer already assumes it as an inherent right.”

“Careful Pricing is going to be extended. It is being negotiated company by company. The institutional stance is that it is currently being negotiated through free will and it is something of a transitional mechanism,” said Daniel Funes de Rioja, president of the Food Products Coordinator (Copal).

Source: La Nacion

Raquel García Raquel García

Raquel García is a Venezuelan journalist with over 16 years of experience in digital outlets and radios. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Follow her @venturaG79.

Colombian State Oil Company to Face Corruption Charges

By: Ysol Delgado - Jan 5, 2017, 10:30 am
Ecopetrol

EspañolThe Colombian Comptroller's Office revealed that it had found irregular contracts by the oil and gas company Ecopetrol, adding up to 145 billion dollars that favors one of the affiliates of the Pacific Rubiales group, Agrocascada. According to the government entity, Ecopetrol hired the company during exploration of fields in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, which resulted in purchases of unnecessary machinery and a loss of equity. Ecopetrol reportedly authorized the construction of facilities that were supposed to serve Agrocascada's daily activities, which did not favor the production of crude oil. For this reason, the development plans of the state-owned company between 2014 and 2015 were affected. Read More: Maduro Regime Forced to Buy Its Own Bonds as Markets Shun Venezuela Read More: Venezuela: State Raw Materials Monopoly Threatens Journalism On that occasion, the oil company made acquisitions, and began construction and installations of water treatment packages that did not provide the service for which they were built, and which had expenditures of approximately US $99 billion. The second finding of the Comptroller's Office revealed that the operator of Ecopetrol made payments of US $74 billion for transfers to a third party, which were justified with a sale of investments related to the Water Treatment Project Agro Cascada S.A.S. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   Authorities concluded that "due to Ecopetrol's participation in percent of the contract, damage was caused to the detriment of the State's interests, of $37 billion due to improper use of third parties." The third finding of the Comptroller's Office was a contract for "the rental, operation and maintenance of a horizontal pump for injection of water in the Rubiales Field" for the same Agrocascada project, thus justifying operational costs. This latter contract was classified by the authorities as "a loss to the equity of Ecopetrol and consequently to the State from the Association CPR Rubiales and Piriri, where Ecopetrol participated in 57.9 percent of expenses, corresponding to $8 billion." Source: Dinero

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