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ARGENTINA | 21-09-2023 23:58

Sergio Massa prepares new aid for informal workers, self-employed

Reports say economy minister poised to announce sweeping measure for three million informal workers, as well as tax relief for self-employed shopkeepers, professionals and service providers.

Looking to boost his chances of winning the Presidency, Economy Minister Sergio Massa is poised to announce a new round of inflation and tax relief measures for self-employed shopkeepers, professionals and service providers.

The ruling coalition presidential candidate is also set to announce assistance for informal workers who are not covered by other post-devaluation initiatives next week – the package could reach as many as three million people whose jobs are not formally registered.

The new measures will be the latest announcements from Massa’s ‘plan platita,’ a plan to boost the pockets of workers in the lead-up to the October 22 election. Argentines are currently suffering from runaway inflation totalling more than 124 percent per annum. The devaluation of the peso in the wake of the August 13 PASO primaries has devastated purchasing-power.

Following lower house approval of his income tax reforms, the economy minister is moving ahead with new announcements for the professional classes, the self-employed,  the PyMES (small and medium-sized firms) and the informally employed, whose number is estimated at three million and who are not covered by previous recent initiatives.

All in all, the new policies could reach as many as four million voters ahead of the election. The 987,000 self-employed break down into 286,000 company directors, 364,000 shopkeepers and 337,000 professionals and service providers.

These measures will be defined "in the next few days," Massa told C5N television news channel on Thursday, again blaming the International Monetary Fund for the recent “devaluation imposed on Argentina.” 

The corresponding bill will be sent to Congress in the course of next week.

 

‘Kids with notebooks, not guns’

At an inauguration last Thursday with Quilmes Mayor Mayra Mendoza and his Public Works colleague Gabriel Katopodis along with Malvinas war veterans, Massa hit back at the opposition inviting youth to rebel by saying: "We want kids to go to school with a notebook in their backpacks, not a gun." 

On the first day of spring which is also Students’ Day in Argentina, the  Unión por la Patria presidential candidate told youth: “It’s time to rebel to defend the Progresar scholarships which permit 1.7 million kids collecting them to go to school or university and which they [the opposition] want to take away.”

Massa continued: "We are not a product of mobile telephones, we are the product of going out on the street" questioning opposition leaders for "saying that each family has to take care of itself as best it can and that the state has no business giving away computers." 

Without mentioning La Libertad Avanza, Massa made his critique of libertarian proposals the focus of his speech.

"Freedom is not discarding (youth) to ride bicycles for Rappi, it’s about having a job with the right to a pension, paid holidays and severance. It’s time to rebel against those who would transform them (youth) simply into an economic number. You are the protagonists of the Argentina to come," he affirmed. 

A new opinion poll of Circuitos consultancy on voting intentions for the main presidential candidates in Buenos Aires Province is hardly surprising - Sergio Massa leads with 37.2 percent over Patricia Bullrich (30.4 percent) with Javier Milei in third place on 22.8 percent. 

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