De Mendiguren: “When my wife comes back from the supermarket with the ticket, she wants to kill me”

The nation’s production minister, Jose Ignacio “Vasco” de Mendiguren, gave numerical and concrete details of his visit to different provinces, where he assures that the growth in terms of work is exponential. He also expressed his opinion on inflation and was animated in the dialogue with the joke “If my wife comes back from the supermarket with an e-ticket, she wants to kill me”. Fontevecchia modeby Net TV and Radio Profile (FM 101.9).

Yesterday, INDEC reported that the unemployment rate is 6.9% and that the industry was up 3.5% in August. How do you explain these conflicting numbers for the perception that the economy is slowing down?

I’ve gone through all the provinces and it’s a very different reality in numbers and figures occupation. In La Pampa there is full employment and 3% unemployment. In Catamarca they inaugurated two factories that were abandoned three years ago and 600 people work there. In La Rioja there are 700 new employees in three extensions in the province that are already under contract. What I tell you is reality.

Santiago del Estero is an industrial fair, I was there 20 years ago when I was Minister and it was really hard to predict that that would happen. All provinces have fiscal balance and create jobs. The Mayor of Las Parejas in Santa Fe told me at the inauguration of another industrial park that they had to bring in people from other places for the construction industry because with the amount of work there is no staff in the city.

I have asked all the governors and, if not them, all the production ministers to come to Buenos Aires, hold a press conference and show, one by one, these concrete realities in terms of employment and the budgetary balance of many of them.

Economic activity grew 6.9% yoy in the second quarter

What you’re looking at isn’t the catastrophe broadcast from the City. There are two Argentines I want us to see. We clearly have problems because every time financial speculation has been installed as the lynchpin of economic policy, it has always ended badly. Bad for the financial sector because the deals they want to do are never sustainable real economy because no one could bear these interest rates and openings with a delay in conversion.

Whenever this crisis came, the same thing happened. Argentina is recovering from the interior to Buenos Aires, that’s what I think is happening, what’s happening is that there is the dollar shortage problem, which is short-term, cumbersome, non-structural.

Argentina has Export data set, over 90 billion. The trade balance will be between 12 and 13 billion. Because we are financially vulnerable, they don’t lend us credit, and since they don’t, what should have been a petty cash problem becomes a problem of this magnitude.

When you see the specific assets related to mining, energy, and the food chain, among others, it’s like a company with wonderful assets.

In order not to be poor, a family needed $120,000 in August

If you compare the economic recovery of the interior versus the capital, understand that you are doing this in relation to the second half of 2002 and 2003 and beyond. Could one say that these low wages are part of the explanation for this situation?

Yes. In 2002, the first priority was to keep the job. There is no worse situation than a person without a job not receiving a salary.

Unemployment fell, starting at 22% in 2002 and ending at 10%. Wages fell by 40% and unemployment fell by half.

The concept is correct. In 2002, when macroeconomic stability prevailed, a surplus of $16 million was generated and the variables stabilized there.

This budget surplus was not built up by exports as it is today, but there was such a recession that imports fell. Now it’s the other way around.

Exactly. There was a political agreement in which Peronism and radicalism decided to emerge from the crisis together. Second, it became a business to produce in Argentina and after four months a $16,500 million repatriation was generated. Argentines who had savings saw that there was one economic stability and that it could be reinvested. The IMF didn’t lend us anything, they shielded Brazil and Uruguay because they had the worst forecasts for us, but we got out.

How many jobs were generated with the current mandate?

Even today, with high inflation and poverty, employment has been sustained. In June, the industry created 7,200 formal jobs, and 70,000 formal jobs have been created since the beginning of this government. Wages are eroding as a product of inflation. It was decided to create a stabilization plan that would preserve the purchasing power of the salary.

It is said again and again that the textile industry is the most expensive, which has increased by 10%, to what do you attribute this difference between this industry and others?

The price of raw materials and labor for a major brand is between 20% and 22% of the retail price. When you measure clothes, it’s one thing in a mall where prices are very far from direct cost because that’s where advertising plays.

I remember that at Armani, 80% of the costs were spent on advertising.

Clothing is the first issue of social identity, that’s why there are people who like to show the label of the expensive brand they bought. The industry makes pants and sells them on Avellaneda Street for 20% or 30% of the value.

It may be related to the restaurants that have increased everything related to recreation, which creates inflation that people don’t want to save and consume.

The first thing you expose is deferred consumption. Nevertheless, Clothing is expensive. Marketing costs are very high in Argentina. When my wife comes back from the supermarket with the ticket, she wants to kill me.


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