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Commerce summons companies to analyze the progress of the program

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The rise in costs worries mass consumption firms and imports continue to be a topic of conversation in the private sector.

Mariano Fuchila

The Secretariat of Commerce summoned mass consumption companies and supermarkets that participate in the Fair Prices program to monitor compliance. While intensifying control operations, the Government seeks to consolidate its plan to contain inflation. Consultants estimate that the CPI was around 6% in February. In the industrial sector there is concern about rising costs and they point out difficulties in the import system.

Official sources confirmed to Ámbito that during last week a series of meetings with companies began that will continue for the next few days. The firms that parade through Matías Tombolini’s offices are those that participate in the Fair Prices programme, both manufacturers and supermarkets. The official intention is to monitor compliance with the program that seeks to appease inflationary inertia with a basket of 2,000 frozen products and another 50,000 that move with an increase cap of 3.2%.

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Meanwhile, they explain in the Government, the macro strategy that has as pillars the accumulation of reserves and fiscal order continues. In this sense, they take the negotiations with the banks for the debt in pesos to clear the financial horizon as a positive fact. They also expect imminent news from the International Monetary Fund regarding the revision of the reserve goal. All this, they point out, could collaborate with the objective of gradually reducing the inflation rate.

Dialogue with mass consumption firms is common. Both sides of the counter recognize the willingness to talk. Nevertheless, companies put on the table some points of concern. The first of them, the cost advance. “All our costs are running above 3.2% and that is the limit of increases that are set for us,” the representative of a firm with a lot of weight in the gondolas told Ámbito.

The other priority item on the industrialists’ agenda is that of the imports. There are two questions there, the first is linked to the speed to access official dollars, something that seems difficult to solve in the context of the scarcity of foreign currency that is aggravated by the effects of the drought. The second has to do with operational difficulties: “It is difficult to monitor, it becomes cumbersome,” they pointed out from a multinational.

On this last point, the Government has been working on a tool to facilitate access to the state of affairs. The AFIP page now has a direct link where the importer can enter and see which are the approved applications. They will also implement a system of alerts for messages that will be sent to cell phones, although the database needs to be refined.

The scenario appears full of limitations, on the fiscal front, on the exchange rate and also on the political front. In line with what was marked by the consumer price index of the City of Buenos Aires, private consultants estimate that in February the average increase was around 6%. In the Casa Rosada they believe that it may be below, but for now they choose the low profile.

Source: Ambito

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