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Macri Freezes Hiring in Executive Branch to Stop Government Spending

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jan 13, 2017, 4:36 pm
Argentine President Mauricio Macri has made reducing government spending a top priority (
Argentine President Mauricio Macri has made reducing government spending a top priority (Diario Santiago).

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Argentine President Mauricio Macri ordered a hiring freeze in the executive branch for the coming fiscal year in order to meet the goal of reducing public spending.

The Argentine daily La Nación notes that the measure applies across the board to the so-called central administration (the presidency and its associated ministries), the decentralized administration, and the decentralized agencies such as the National Social Security Administration, the National Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts, and the Comprehensive Medical Care Program.

In total there are about 208,000 employees across these departments and this number must be kept frozen in order to meet the government’s target.

Government companies such as Aerolineas Argentinas, the Armed Forces, universities, Congress, and the Justice Department were excluded. Provincial governments were also excluded.

Official sources told La Nación that the government will try to advance similar measures for the rest of the Argentine public administration, where there are agencies that add another 560,851 employees.

The Minister of Modernization, Andrés Ibarra, will be in charge of the audit of state employment. All jurisdictions and entities of the executive branch must send him, within 30 days, a detailed report regarding the positions occupied by their permanent and temporary staff until December 31st.

It is expected that after a personnel evaluation period, the Ministry of Modernization will write and distribute new contracts, with the possibility of modifying the current distribution up until the last day of 2016, La Nación noted.

The administrative decision published on Thursday in the government’s official report also reins in recruitment. The ministers and other officials of the executive branch will not be able to fund projects, or make official purchases without the authorization of the Secretary of Productive Transformation, within the Ministry of Production.

President Macri will also be stricter with enforcing accountable with respect to the progress of his administration’s goals. Ministers will be required to report every three months regarding the physical execution of each program, and be obligated to explain any irregularities in the use of funds.

The budget for 2017 saw less funding for ministries compared to 2016, despite rising prices. Macri, for example, will have 0.5% less resources to handle activities directly related to the presidency.

The Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the ministries of Energy, Security, Production, Agribusiness, Communications, Science, Culture and Health will also have lower budgets.

The measure is the first step towards the implementation of the so-called “Plan of Debureaucratization and State Reform”, which aims to restructure Argentine public administration.

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.

Chilean Government Plans to Ram Through New Tax on Sugary Foods

By: Ysol Delgado - Jan 13, 2017, 3:04 pm
In the wake of Mexico, the Chilean government is considering new taxes on unhealthy foods (

Español The government of Chile is working to expand its current Food Labeling Law, which has been in force for more than six months. Specifically, they are seeking to introduce new measures such as taxes on foods high in sugar, in order to incentivize healthy eating and encourage companies to increase the nutritional quality of their products. Tito Pizarro, head of public policy at the Ministry of Health, said: "One of the issues that is being discussed today is how to generate taxes on foods that are high in sugars and fats. There is a government agreement to research and review the possibilities, in conjunction with the Health and Finance ministries, and during the first semester we anticipate publishing studies so that the authorities can make appropriate decisions." Read More: Colombian Shopkeepers in Revolt Over Sugary Drinks Tax Read More: Can Taxes on Sugary Drinks Cut Down on Obesity? Fat Chance There are two options being discussed. One is to tax all foods with black seals, which warn consumers of their unhealthy nutritional content; according to media sources, in 2016, this constituted 3,052 different products. The other option is to begin by focusing only on products that are high in sugar. In addition, healthy foods, which often have higher production costs, will be subsidized. With respect to sugary drinks, they will now be taxed at 18%, a significant increase from the previous rate of 13%. Non-sugary drinks, on the other hand, will have their tax rate reduced from 12% to 10%. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Senator Guido Girardi indicated the government will closely monitor the tax changes, noting that, "There are studies that show that the best way to apply taxes is doing it to products with black label. I am in favor of a 20% tax on such products, while reducing taxes on fruits and vegetables, in order to encourage healthy eating." According to the School of Public Health of the University of Chile, after Mexico's implementation of a similar plan, the country saw a 9% decrease in consumption of sugary beverages. Karen Riedemann, vice president of the College of Nutritionists, said that "given the results we've seen globally, and in Mexico, this could be good public policy for Chile." She added that the school is promoting a policy "to encourage the consumption of unpackaged foods, which are more natural." Source: La Tercera

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