The increase in Covid-19 infections puts pressure on the Government on various fronts. So in the last hours they took flight again the chances of refloating the IFE and the ATP, the two central tools with which it was possible to maintain social peace during the quarantine.
The Emergency Family Income (IFE) reached 9 million people with three payments of $ 10,000 each that were made between April and September 2020. The State allocated $ 270,000 million to this aid that reached the unemployed, holders of the Universal Child Allowance (AUH), domestic workers, informal workers and monotax payers of categories A and B.
Last year the Work and Production Assistance program (ATP) was also developed, a key piece to sustain private activity amid strict quarantine. Through the ATP, the State was responsible for the payment of up to 50% of wages. As openings resumed, that attendance dwindled until the program ended in December.
IFE and ATP were discontinued while the pandemic showed signs of retreat and the advance of vaccines was trusted. The main reason for limiting these grants was put limits on the fiscal deficit. Last year the red in public accounts exceeded 7% and the Central Bank issued 2 trillion pesos to cover these aid and other state expenses.
Now with the expansion of the sanitary regrowth and the daily analysis about whether or not to return to confinement, officials slide that the chance to reactivate the IFE and the ATP reappears. “There is still nothing defined, it will depend on how the pandemic evolves. What is clear is that we are not going to leave people without help,” they say.
Last Friday, the Market Expectations Survey (REM) of the Central Bank was known. Economists improved the projection of a rise in activity for 2021. It went from 4.8% to 5.5%. But this improvement is tied to the assumption that vaccination advances, the pandemic recedes and there is no new confinement. If the latter happens, the forecasts will have to be redone with gloomier prospects.
The government knows that this scenario cannot be ruled out. Over the weekend, the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, affirmed that “the State aid was, is and is will be present for each sector that needs it“.
In the same vein, the head of Social Development, Daniel Arroyo, spoke. In radio statements, he stressed that if there is a regrowth, “exceptional social measures” will be addressed.
“If there is regrowth, you have to be evaluating at all times, as do all countries. In case that happens, there will be support from the State to address the economic situation “Arroyo said.
“The 2021 budget is built on a no pandemic or no regrowth scheme. If there is indeed a regrowth, we will generate the emergency measures to address the situation. In 2020 we started with a budget of $ 84,000 million and ended with $ 240,000 million, “added Arroyo.
“If new aid is necessary, it will be evaluated in the meetings of the economic cabinet,” official sources told Clarion. The chief of staff, Santiago Cafiero, the ministers Kulfas, Martín Guzmán and Claudio Moroni and other officials such as the president of the Central Bank, Miguel Pesce, and the head of AFIP, Mercedes Marcó del Pont participate in these meetings.
“The return of ATP is neither ruled out nor in the pipeline. It will be seen as the restrictions advance and the impact they will have is evaluated, “they pointed out.
Officials point out that if it were to close again “it will be very different from what happened in the initial phase. This is because industries have already adapted their protocols and as they opened it was shown that the industry was not a factor of contagion or circulation of the virus. And in fact it is a factor of early detention: it works in bubble format and if there is any case, the entire shift is isolated “.