Government deputies in Congress are working on a bill for a one-off tax on big fortunes to finance the sanitary and social campaign against the new coronavirus pandemic.
The tax will apply "to around 200 people and some 200 companies with the biggest invoicing,” Frente de Todos lawmaker Hugo Yasky told Radio Con Vos.
"We hope to raise US$ 2.5 billion,” said the union leader, who has led the Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA) since 2006.
Argentina was already suffering a two-year recession before the virus crisis arrived. The economy's immediate outlook is compounded by the semi-paralysis of the country amid the health crisis, with a sharp fall in fiscal revenues anticipated.
President Alberto Fernández is pushing through a stimulus programme of state investments to the tune of 550 billion pesos (US$8 billion at the current exchange rate).
Some 12 million people have registered for the emergency family income (IFE, in its Spanish acronym) of 10,000 pesos (US$150), of whom almost eight million qualified. Over 220,000 companies are claiming financial relief to stave off bankruptcy, according to the government.
The government’s dilemma is how Congress can session if they cannot attend and comply with the quarantine.
"If we need to session, we’ll have to see how we can do it remotely," government deputy Darío Martínez told Radio El Destape.
The funds will be used "for sanitary inputs or food for the most vulnerable sectors," Budget Committee chairman Carlos Heller, a government deputy, said in a press communiqué.
Argentina has a public debt of over US$311 billion (around 90 percent of gross domestic product), on which it has been postponing payments and which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has admitted to be unsustainable.
The country has been under lockdown since March 20 (renewed over the Easter weekend until April 26) with only such essential services as food stores, pharmacies and banks exempted.