Tension rises as Argentine government removes tax chapter from omnibus bill


To facilitate the approval of the omnibus bill in Argentina’s Congress, the government has made a significant decision. The tax chapter has been removed from the bill, according to the country’s Economy Minister, Luis Caputo. This move has sparked a heated discussion among opposition governors and MPs.

The omnibus bill encompasses various changes, including tax increases and privatizations. However, due to the minority status of the governing party, the bill was unable to pass in both chambers of Congress. In an effort to expedite the ratification process, Caputo announced on Friday that the fiscal chapter of the bill would be eliminated.

During a press conference held at Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Caputo confirmed that despite removing the fiscal portion of the bill, the government still aims to achieve fiscal balance. He stated that the goal of zero deficit remains the administration’s commitment.

Caputo emphasized, “This does not mean in any way that we are going to abandon our commitment to achieving fiscal balance, our goal of zero deficit.” He further explained that the intention behind removing the fiscal chapter was to provide reassurance to the public and economic actors. The government wants to ensure that they will not fail in meeting the zero deficit target while also facilitating the approval of the most important part of the law.

However, the decision has not been without controversy. Opposition governors and MPs have expressed their concerns regarding the removal of the tax chapter. They argue that the government cannot expect to achieve fiscal balance without comprehensive tax reforms included in the bill. The opposition questions the feasibility of the government’s plans and believes that this move may have negative consequences for the country’s economy.

Argentina, as the third-largest economy in Latin America, faces numerous challenges. Nearly 40% of the population lives in poverty, and the country has one of the world’s worst inflation rates. To address these issues, the libertarian president, Javier Milei, assumed office in December with the aim of leading the country towards recovery.

Recently, there has been a significant slowdown in the growth of prices, as noted by Caputo. He stated that there has been a marked decrease in inflation over the past two weeks. In light of this, Caputo has outlined his intentions to focus on the infrastructure sector in his portfolio following the retirement of Minister Guillermo Ferraro. It is worth mentioning that inflation in 2023 exceeded 200%, highlighting the urgent need for economic stability and growth.

In conclusion, the decision to remove the tax chapter from the omnibus bill in Argentina has generated mixed reactions. While the government hopes that it will accelerate the approval process, opposition governors and MPs have raised concerns about the feasibility of achieving fiscal balance without comprehensive tax reforms. As the country’s economy faces challenges such as high inflation and widespread poverty, the government’s actions will undoubtedly shape its future trajectory.