To comply with the IMF, the Government will accelerate the removal of tariff subsidies

The Ministry of Economy, which heads Sergio Massa, advanced with the easing of the reserve target with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, despite the drop in collection and the higher spending that the pension moratorium will imply, the fiscal deficit target of 1.9% of GDP will be maintained. For that, the IMF asked to accelerate the rise in energy rates, but from Economy they clarify that the only two items that will not have changes will be social assistance and public works.

The reset of the commitments assumed with the IMF – a move derived from the current situation of economic fragility and the marked drought that hits rural production and grain exports twice – will allow the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa to lighten the accumulation goal of reserves that it had to reach this year and agree to a new draft of the organism of US$5,300 million in the coming weeks.

At the request of the IMF, the Government maximizes income with electricity and gas rates

This entry – which would be approved and confirmed by the IMF board within 15 days – will provide the Alberto Fernández administration with a temporary lifeline to clear up part of the uncertainty that surrounds the economy until mid-year and remove risk for a few months. of a suspension of disbursements provided for in the current agreement that are crucial to sustaining reserves and meeting debt payments.

In exchange for this aid, the IMF warned that the Government must implement “more solid policies to reaffirm the fiscal goals and the tariff scheme planned to lower the energy subsidy bill,” which constitutes the main adjustment variable for the fiscal deficit.

Through an official statement, the deputy director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Luis Cubeddu, and the new head of the mission in charge of Argentinea, Ashvin Ahuja, highlighted that “in the face of a more challenging economic context, particularly due to the increasingly severe, stronger policy measures are needed to safeguard stability, address rising inflation, and policy setbacks to maintain the program’s anchor role″.

In exchange for the approval of the IMF for the revision of the agreement, the economic team promised to speed up the scheme for the elimination of tariff subsidies in electricity and gas services for higher-income households, businesses and industries that had slowed down since the beginning of anus.

Before a flexibility

Faced with an urgent relaxation of the Fund’s goals, Massa had to give up the acceleration of the rate segmentation.

Who will pay increased electricity and gas?

Last September, the Secretary of Energy commanded by the massista from Salta, Flavia Royón, launched a schedule to remove subsidies for households with greater purchasing power that consisted of three bimonthly stages. The first two instances were implemented as announced. But the third and last, which was scheduled between January and February, was halfway done with subsidy removals lower than those scheduled.

Despite the string of increases that they are already paying and the increases approved for Edenor and Edesur until June, residential users framed in Level 1 still continue to receive an energy subsidy in electricity and gas services that ranges between 35% and 40 %.

In the cases of households framed as N2 (low income) N3 (which groups the middle sectors), the level of subsidies ranges between 60% and 75%.

Unless the Government already plans, for electoral reasons, to fail in advance with the new commitment to resume the path of eliminating subsidies, the entire universe of residential users could come across new rate increases that should be applied between April and May.

The scope of these increases would not be uniform in the three levels of users and will depend on how far Alberto Fernández and Sergio Massa would be willing to assume the political cost of approving new tariff adjustments in the midst of the first provincial votes and the electoral campaign for the PASO in full boil.

Confirmed and pending raises

On the side of the electrical service whose regulation depends on the ENRE – the national regulatory entity that is piloted by the Buenos Aires massista inspector Walter Martello -, since the beginning of the year it has already accumulated two kinds of rate increases for home, commercial and industrial consumption.

In this case, although the increases granted in the specific revenues of the carriers were between 153% and 155%, the final impact on the bills of residential users throughout the country ranged only between 2.87% and 3 ,fifteen%.

The second electrical adjustment occurred as of February and corresponded to the wholesale price of electrical energy for generating companies. The rise for household consumption in the AMBA metropolitan region was between 17% and 29%; while for businesses and industries it climbed, on average, up to 45%.

To these increases already in force are added another two approved for April and June that will go to the boxes of Edenor and Edesur. The ENRE resolutions released last week in the midst of the power outages granted metropolitan distributors a 108% recomposition of their specific income as of April followed by another 74% that will be applied from June.

This double increase for Edenor (controlled by the trio of local businessmen made up of Daniel Vila, José Luis Manzano and Mauricio Filiberti) and Edesur (in the hands of the Italian group ENEL and with a sale sign since last year) will have a final impact on bills that will go from 89.2% to 136%, according to calculations by the consulting firm Economía y Energía.

Regarding the gas sector, since the beginning of March an adjustment of up to 28% for residential users and 70% for businesses and industries has been in force.

This increase corresponds to the value of gas and, as announced by the energy authorities, it would be the only one that will be applied this year for this concept for home consumption. On the other hand, for commercial and industrial customers, another increase in the price of gas of more than 50% will be in force since May. To these adjustments will be added those that are intended to improve the specific income of gas distributors and transporters.