By absorbing Infrastructure, Caputo will have to manage a super ministry similar to the one Cavallo had
He was already in charge of the country’s economy, in addition to mining and energy; now it will add transportation, housing, public works and communications; Thus, it will manage 12.7% of the total budget; official communication from the Government is still missing.
We must go back to the super-ministry that Domingo Cavallo knew how to manage to find another official below the president who has similar power as the one that Luis Caputo, current Minister of Economy, would accumulate when he merges the defunct Ministry of Infrastructure into his portfolio.
Guillermo Ferraro ‘s departure was not so surprising for those who walked through those corridors. Rather, a minister left who barely arrived, who did not manage to feel comfortable in his area and who, furthermore, could not turn on the ignition key of the offices he managed during these little more than 20 days that he had been in office.
Now Caputo will manage not only the country’s economy, energy and mining , functions he already had, but will also add transportation, public works, communications and housing . Companies such as Aerolíneas Argentinas, all railway companies, Corredores Viales (in charge of collecting tolls on almost all national routes that have tolls) and the powerful National Highway will remain under his orbit .
The unification of the portfolios, as stated, only occurred when Cavallo became Minister of Economy and Public Works and Services. In March of that year , the Minister of Public Works, Roberto Dromi , had left Carlos Menem ‘s government . With the arrival of the economist at the Treasury Palace, the unification of the two ministries took place.
Since then, no president has merged the two portfolios. Néstor Kirchner , who took office in May 2002, decided to create a super ministry called Federal Planning. Under the command of Julio De Vido, he concentrated power and millions. It was the most efficient box to achieve the political construction of Kirchnerism and was used for 12 years. Or it was the most inefficient box, if instead you look at the deficit in energy or infrastructure.
The extinct Ministry of Federal Planning, the Minplan , was created in the last days of Eduardo Duhalde’s presidency, when the former president approved the law of ministries that had been requested by whoever would succeed him. All the public works in the country were concentrated in that structure. For example, until that moment, the Ministry of Education built schools and the Ministry of Justice built prisons. But, since the arrival of the Kirchner – De Vido duo, everything was unified.
Despite such a concentration of power, it was never handed over to him the management of the economy as will happen now. In fact, in the first Kirchnerism, Roberto Lavagna as number one in the Treasury Palace was a counterweight to the rising power of his Planning partner.
The planet De Vido began to lose power for two reasons. The first had to do with the death of Néstor Kirchner and the appearance of the Kirchnerist youth. The former official suffered like no other from the rise of La Cámpora after the 2011 presidential election. Little by little, the young Camporistas looted sensitive funds from him. The second reason was the impossibility of hiding the poor management that had been going on since 2003 in sensitive areas such as Transportation. After the Once tragedy, his boss, President Cristina Kirchner, silently blamed him for what happened and took away his area.
If the Ministry of Infrastructure finally disappears (official communication is still missing), so much change in the organizational chart will not be necessary. Strictly speaking, the position of “minister” would disappear and all the secretariats, and their budgets, will now depend on Luis Caputo.
This new portfolio will be, by far, the most budgetary beneficiary. Obviously, all the numbers are small when compared to the Ministry of Human Capital, since within that number is the Anses and all the social security benefits. But if this item of the analysis is corrected, the new jurisdiction will be the one with the largest budget in 2024 .
According to the budget execution data published by the Ministry of Economy, Caputo will have as a budget 12.7% of the total amount authorized to spend this year, 7.48% of his portfolio and 5.22% of what until Ferraro was now driving. So that it is understood: of every 100 pesos spent by the central administration, 50 are allocated to social security, especially retirements and pensions. Of the other 50, Caputo has direct jurisdiction over 12.7 pesos.
In total, the new super minister’s pen will have the power to sign checks for more than five billion pesos during 2024, according to official data.
The question that was going on in the corridors of what was Infrastructure is what will happen to the officials appointed by the official who was removed. “We are working the same, we have not had any official communication. We don’t know how everything will go,” said an official source who spends the day in offices near the one Ferrraro occupied.
In principle, everyone is preparing for more changes. It happens that the day-to-day life of certain secretariats, transportation, for example, requires daily management. “The minister is not there for that, it is impossible. He is surely going to delegate and that delegation is going to involve putting in his own people,” a man who knows those corridors analyzed yesterday. For now, everything is a surprise among the officials appointed by Ferraro. He did not even manage to form his team when he had to leave and make way for the increasingly ascendant Luis “Toto” Caputo.