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ARGENTINA | 10-06-2024 16:33

Budget for Karina Milei's office boosted 219% from last year

Preliminary budget data for first five months of the year indicates that funds assigned to the office of the presidential chief-of-staff has soared. Defence and security spending also high.

New data about government spending under President Javier Milei indicates both the administration’s priorities and current realities. Budgets for defence and security are soaring, while funds earmarked for the Office of the presidential chief-of-staff, Karina Milei, have also been hiked considerably from last year.

As of May 2024, 50.53 percent of total allocations for the year have been spent, according to government data accessed by Perfil. 

Well above average is the Federal Penitentiary Service, with 74 percent of total funds for the year used on average, and a 15-percent increase of its initial budget now factored in.

Spending in the Armed Forces are also up considerably. The Air Force’s General Staff Office has spent 65 percent of funds for the year, with its annual budget set to rise 14 percent on initial expectations. 

Similar increases can be seen for the Army’s General Staff Office (67 percent of annual budget), Armed Forces overall (60 percent), Federal Police (56 percent) and Border Guards (54 percent) were also above average use. In all these cases, current spending is set to be higher than originally allocated.

The most striking figure is the budget allocated to the Armed Forces for ‘Planning and Management of Joint Operations and Military Training,’ with 88.23 percent of annual funds already used and a 690-percent increase in the annual budget anticipated.


Presidential chief-of-staff

The budget has soared at the Office of the Presidential Chief-of-Staff, which is headed by President Javier Milei’s sister, Karina Milei. Spending there is expected to rise from 21.059 billion pesos last year to 69.454 billion pesos – a 219-percent budgetary increase. 

As for funds used, as of May, these closed at 13.79 percent of spending dedicated to the “Executive Branch Management” programme and at 0.27 percent in the “Institutional press action” programme, which went from having no funds at all to spending totalling 2.779 billion pesos.

At the other end of the scale, the Interior Ministry has used just 19 percent of its budget to date, while spending at the Environment Secretariat (20 percent), Tourism & Sports Secretariat (24.64 percent), National Disability Agency (33 percent), the Health Ministry (38 percent), Human Capital Ministry (32 percent), and Labour, Employment & Social Security Secretariats (40 percent) were also below average. 

In the case of social security services, expenses accrued to date reached 54 percent on average, with a strong impact in unemployment benefits. Ninety-four percent of anticipated spending for the year has been utilised, with the annual budget set to soar 54 percent this year. 

The figure highlights the economic downturn, According to official calculations, from January to February, more than 20,000 private and registered jobs were lost. Yet there are more alarming data: during the first quarter, over 250,000 payroll accounts were closed, and thus the impact of the drop in employment during the first third of the year could be greater. 

Public works and service maintenance were also items which were largely unused in the first half of the year.

The Milei government has introduced a blanket ban on public works projects since taking office last December.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL
 

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Agustina Bordigoni

Agustina Bordigoni

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