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Argentinean Government Vows to Slash Bureaucracy in 2017

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jan 10, 2017, 5:09 pm
Mauricio Macri's administration has prioritized downsizing Argentina's sizable state bureaucracy (
Mauricio Macri’s administration has prioritized downsizing Argentina’s sizable state bureaucracy (Infobae).

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The Argentine government’s Ministry of Modernization will launch its plan this year to reduce bureaucracy in state agencies, a proposal certain to involve tense negotiations with Argentina‘s powerful trade unions.

The newspaper La Nación notes that the plan of Mauricio Macri‘s administration is to install a “meritocracy” with a system of rewards and punishments for state workers.

“The general objective of these changes is to generate a state led by able and trained people. Our obligation is to use our human capital to the best of our abilities in order to achieve the goals of the administration,” minister Andrés Ibarra told La Nación.

In its first term, the government will work on the training for state workers. Sources from the modernization office said that the courses in question will be optional, allowing those employees who choose to participate to increase their salaries, giving them an advantage over those who elect to attend the courses.

Minister Ibarra explained to La Nación that the courses will be divided by “formative itineraries”, according to the area in which the employee works.

“Once we have them trained, they will need to demonstrate the ability to apply what they were taught, in order to meet their objectives, and improve their performance,” Argentine sources told the ministry.

The programs used to train state personnel will be developed in conjunction with national and regional universities.

On the other hand, the 3,000 coordinator and director positions that the government is seeking to fill will be selected competitively. This month, the government will be filling 300 positions, about ten to fifteen per ministry.

When asked if the current directors and coordinators could lose their jobs, the modernization ministry responded to La Nación: “They will have better chances than other applicants, because they are already familiar with the positions they are in. We are seeking stable and long-term positions, that are not merely dependent upon the prevailing political winds.”

The government also intends to simplify public administration. “There are ministries or administrations in which the amount of paperwork is really excessive. The idea is to reduce that amount, and establish a common database that serves the entire public administration,” they said.

La Nacion points out that there has been constructive dialogue between Minister Ibarra and the Union of Civilian Personnel of the Nation (UPCN), but little agreement has been reached with the Association of State Workers (ATE) who are suspicious of the plan.

In September of last year, the government announced that a new stage of contract reviews and reorganization of state personnel, which could include layoffs in the sector, had begun. The new phase includes personnel transfers, training, retirements, work leaves, and even non-renewal of contracts.

President Mauricio Macri and his team were widely criticized by the opposition at the beginning of their administration for the number of layoffs in the civil service. It is estimated that up until March 31, 2016, 10,662 public sector employees were dismissed.

A report from the Ministry of Labor published in November 2016 revealed that public employment in Argentina at the end of 2016 had reached the same level as December 2015.

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.

Coca Cultivation Increases in Colombia, Amid Lack of New Strategies

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Jan 10, 2017, 3:58 pm
Minister Rafael Pardo has acknowledged the difficult road Colombia faces in combating drug trafficking (

Español Post-conflict minister Rafael Pardo, acknowledged that coca cultivation will increase in 2017 in an interview conducted by W Radio. The new position was established by the peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC. According to drug and crime figures from the United Nations, 2015 was Colombia's largest coca crop production year since 2007. 96,000 hectares of Colombian territory were covered with the coca plant and it is estimated that during 2016, even more Colombian land was under cultivation. Read More: Why Colombia Should Legalize Drugs Unilaterally Read More: Five FARC Leaders Abandon Peace Deal, Start Talks with Colombian Drug Gang Pardo explains that the growth can be explained by several factors such as the decision by the government to stop using aerial spraying of glyphosate, but suggests that what has generated the greatest growth in coca cultivation is the devaluation of the Colombian peso against the dollar, since this has dramatically increased the profit margins for drug traffickers. He also acknowledged that as long as there is coca cultivation, there will continue to be violence, so he deems the issue a top priority for Colombia. He also said that the dynamics of the market is changing, since the United States is decreasing its coca consumption, while Colombia continues to increase production. Pardo suggests that this implies that other countries are increasing their consumption, alongside the possibility that Colombian domestic consumption has increased. Finally, Minister Pardo discussed strategies for eradication and crop substitution. Pardo addressed the difficulty of meeting the goal of eradicating 20,000 hectares during the past year, since only 18,000 were destroyed. He furthermore announced more investment in both economic and human resources during the coming year. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Economists and politicians have often criticized the drug war as expensive and ineffective, noting that drug use has largely failed to decline since its inception. In addition, Pardo noted that efforts will be made to continue working on the crop substitution plan, which consists of incentivizing farmers to grow other crops so that they can survive economically during a transitional period. Under the auspices of this plan, Colombia peasants are expected to cultivate high-income crops such as cacao that will enable them to maintain their current incomes. However, the farmers face a problem during the transitional period in that the sale of their current coca products is both guaranteed, and financed, by drug traffickers, providing them with an economic safety net. The Colombian government faces a difficult road ahead to achieve results through its crop substitution and coca eradication plans. Source: W Radio

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