Buenos Aires Times

argentina Facing unified opposition

Gov’t readies 3 bills to replace Macri’s controversial ‘megadecree’

The opposition claims that the anti-bureaucracy, import-friendly decree package undermines the role of Congress.

Wednesday 7 February, 2018
Senator Luis Naidenoff and Lawmaker Marcos Cleri during a debate about the future of the Macri government's January decree package.
Senator Luis Naidenoff and Lawmaker Marcos Cleri during a debate about the future of the Macri government's January decree package. Foto:NA

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The national government will send three bills to Congress to replace the wide-ranging package of decrees that President Mauricio Macri signed in early January.

The anti-bureaucracy, import-friendly decree package this week passed the Legislative Processes Committee, composed of both senators and lawmakers, 16 to 8.

However, the government has been forced to alter its strategy given the unity of opposition Congressional blocs behind the idea of an eventual vote against the decree package. The opposition claims that the decree package undermines the role of Congress.

“Given the intension of many to express their opinions and to contribute [to the details of the decrees in question], we are going to present three bills that cover each of the themes laid out in the decrees, from chapter 1 to 22”, said Senator Luis Naidenoff, president of the Legislative Processes committee.

While the “megadecree” remains in effect for the time being, the opposition celebrated the decision to revert to a vote in Congress on changes to 140 existing pieces of legislation and the elimination of 20 laws.

“I celebrate that the government will send three bills [to Congress]. But it confirms our rejection [of the decrees]. If it can be debated, then it proves that this decree package was unnecessary”, the Lower House’s minority Peronist leader Pablo Kosher said.

“The idea of the three bills being voted on in Congress is the right path to take, not a decree package”, he added.

THE PACKAGE

Macri’s so-called "megadecree" aims to attract investment by improving importers' access to local markets. Among the changes, the government has automated 314 import licences and created a so-called Secretariat for Production Simplification. 

Controversially, it has also permitted the ANSES welfare entity to invest its Guarantees and Sustainability fund in financial services including fiduciaries, a move the opposition has taken particular issue with.

More broadly, the national government hopes the measures, designed to "simplify" and slash the country's bureaucracy, will reduce productive costs by one percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over two years, Production Minister Francisco Cabrera said in January.

Read more here: Macri signs import-friendly decree package to simplify, slash bureaucracy

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