Journalist: This week the reduction of personal income tax and IASS will be announced. What considerations do you make about this measure?
Conrado Rodríguez: It is in keeping with an electoral promise, not only of the President of the Republic, but of all the forces that make up the coalition. This has been much discussed: in the previous legislature we insisted a lot on gradually lowering the entire IASS. It is not desirable for retirees to be charged a tax when another tax was charged during their active life.
In what has to do with the philosophical, we disagree with this tribute. But of course, it has a significant collection, more than 400 million dollars. The State grew a lot during the 15 years of government of the broad front and these revenues are important to the administration.
– Is there room for the government to move in this direction? Because, for example, the Fiscal Advisory Council said no.
– Well, I don’t share. First, because the fulfillment of an electoral promise is always important because it generates credibility. In addition, much of what retirees and workers can save by lowering their taxes will flow into the local market through consumption.
You have to see the concrete measure, because we still don’t know it. If it is the rise in the non-taxable minimum, with total certainty, in those who were at a fairly low income threshold, a large part of that saving will be turned over to consumption. Therefore, I do not share the criticism. It is a good measure to improve purchasing power.
– Last week the Central Bank decided to keep the interest rate at 11.5%. Is it okay at those levels?
– I believe that the economic team acted very well and with great efficiency. If they have maintained the interest rate, it is due to some calculation that warrants that situation. I trust the authorities of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
– There was quite a bit of criticism regarding the influence it has in terms of exchange rate delays. Do you think the dollar should be higher?
– That is a historical discussion. It has its downside, but it is also true that it allows a large number of Uruguayans to access certain consumer goods that are handled and sold in dollars. He export sector It has had a very important boom in recent years, and beyond the fact that the exchange rate may not have accompanied the way that expectations marked, there have been significant earnings and foreign currency income for the country.
– How have you been following the issue of drought? Much is said about the transitory impact that it may have on inflation.
– There could be some impact on some products that, having less supply, may have a price rise. There you have to have a flexible policy when it comes to importing certain products that are in short supply in the country as a result of the drought, in order to balance prices. The drought is going to cost the country a few million dollars.
social security reform
– In what situation is the treatment of the social security reform?
– The reform has three pillars: that the rules of the game are respected for those who are already retired; Legitimate expectations are also respected, that is, that those who are 50 years of age or older today will not have any change in the rules of the game; and third, that the different income strata will generate an improvement in the retirement credit. To the extent that these three axes are maintained, it is positive. Now, if the decision is to kick the ball forward for political or electoral reasons, what will happen is that the room for maneuver will be less.
– Because within two or three years the rules will no longer be changed for those who are 50, but for those who are 53. It is accepted by all the political actors that the system needs reform. Even former President Tabaré Vázquez and former Economy Minister Danilo Astori said so on several occasions. We, in the Colorado Party, would have liked the reform to have been carried out in the first year of government. It seemed to us that the commission of experts (CESS) did not have to be created by law, but by decree.
– Is the internal discussion of the ruling party delaying the treatment?
– As long as the reform maintains the three pillars, we are willing to accompany you. Now, if we see that there are articles that do not include certain cases or deserve to be modified, we are willing to do that job. And in this no one can be angry. We do have a different vision on some articles.
– Like which?
– Regarding the complementary funds we have some differences. Surely we will make a proposal. Then, there are some situations that we have to see if they should have a special contemplation, for example the Notarial Box.
How would you handle that situation?
– In a personal capacity, I believe that the Notarial Fund has shown good management in recent efforts and expertise. That implied him to currently have a surplus. Taking this situation into account, which is very different from the one experienced by the bank account and the Box of University Professionals, who are in a very worrying situation. It would be good to create a window period to see how the Notarial Fund continues to function and in five years to decide whether or not to include it in the convergence regime of this bill.
The losses of the Colorado Party in the government
– In recent times, some figures from the Colorado Party were ejected from the government after leading some scandals, such as Carolina Ache or Adrián Peña. Is there a self-criticism in space?
– Actually they did not resign because of scandals that have to do with illegal acts. There have been certain situations, some of which I believe were not handled correctly and episodes that we do not like to experience, but they have been resolved with some resignations. Specifically about Adrián Peña: he himself decided to resign, I think he had a brave gesture in acknowledging the mistake he made.
– Do the recommendations of the Ethics Committee seem correct?
– I would like to read the recitals, your line of argument. In any case, it seems good to me that there is a sanction. I also think that ex-minister Peña had a gesture that exalts him.