Stocksak: Argentine lawmakers approve 2023 budget bill in overnight session

© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO : Police officers stand before the National Congress, as the senate discusses the government’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund. (IMF), in Buenos Aires. March 17, 20, 222. REUTERS/Agustin Margari

Walter Bianchi

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s lower house of Congress approved President Alberto Fernandez’s 2023 Budget Bill on Wednesday. This was after a long and exhausting overnight session that was marred by heated discussions with the opposition, which led to the government conceding on some points.

The green light was given with a 180-22 vote for, and 49 abstentions. This is a breakthrough after Congress rejected the 2022 budget bill last year due to disagreements between Congress and the opposition.

The budget for 2023 projects that Argentina’s economy would grow by 2% next fiscal year. The annual inflation rate is estimated at 60%. The Senate still has to approve it. The budget anticipates GDP growth at 4% this year, with consumer prices rising by nearly 95% annually.

The ruling Peronist coalition had to withdraw an Article allowing the Executive branch of government to manage tax increases in the key agricultural sector. Argentina is the No. 1 exporter in the world of processed soy, and No. 3 for corn.

An article that would have made judges and prosecutors pay income taxes was also rejected by Congress.

“Many elements have already been included, but many topics are not understood by many lawmakers,” a Peronist lower chamber Deputy said.

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