On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, Minister of Finance Nicolás Dujovne and advisor to the President of the Nation Gustavo Lopetegui announced that the public-private participation contracts scheduled for the coming months are not set to be tendered. The announcement is based on the “increase in country risk” and the growing difficulties in accessing external credit. Projects already allocated, which include six road corridors, will stick to established schedules.
The government had planned works totalling USD 21 billion between 2019 and 2023. Works scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019 include two electrical interconnection projects, stage II of the highway network and safe routes, the North Patagonian rail freight project that would reach the Vaca Muerta deposit, the improvement works of the Urquiza, Belgrano Norte and General San Martín railroads and the Portezuelo del Viento water complex.
A week before the announcement, the government had delegated to the Chief of Staff “the formulation, registration, monitoring and evaluation of the projects executed through public-private participation contracts”. The JGM will also be in charge of directing and supervising the registry of public works contractors and consulting agencies. Before awarding the contract, the Ministry of Finance must decide on the budget forecast to meet the obligations that compromise future budgets. The decision was formalized through the Decree of Necessity and Urgency 1117/2018 that modifies the Law of Ministries.