Alberto Fernández has confirmed that economist Marco Lavagna will be the next director of the INDEC national statistics bureau, the organisation responsible for producing official data on inflation, poverty and a number of other items of national interest.
Lavagna, a Frente Renovador lawmaker in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, is the son of recent presidential candidate and former economy minister Roberto Lavagna.
Lavagna Jnr is a respected economic mind within Congress. He was the the driving force behind the legislation on mortgages, public debt and financial inclusion.
In a radio interview this week, Fernández said the selection of Lavagna had nothing to do with the lawmaker's father, Roberto Lavagna.
On his own Twitter account, the incoming director thanked Fernández for his trust.
"In this new challenge, we will work to strengthen the organisation to the highest quality, generating trust and recognition nationally and internationally," he wrote.
However, on Wednesday, Lavagna Jnr made the somewhat inadvisable decision to speculate as to what inflation would be next year, predicting it would be around 40 percent.
The Mauricio Macri made regular predictions about inflation during its time in office, failing to hit nearly every target.
Regarding his appointment, Lavagna said "it has to do with mistakes that we don't have to make again."
"The idea of looking for someone from another political space with some technical knowledge seeks to give greater credibility to an institute that has to be technical, professional, hierarchical and independent," he added.
'Capable and committed team'
Jorge Todesca, who was appointed by President Mauricio Macri, currently leads INDEC. The outgoing chief welcomed Lavagna's appointment on Twitter, assuring him he will find a "highly capable and committed team" working inside the statistics bureau.
On Wednesday, Lavanga praised Todesca's time leading the institution, saying the director had "left an agency where today, nobody has doubts that inflation is what [INDEC] says it is."
Back in August, Todesca released an unprecedented letter attacking the Peronist opposition and questioning whether the likely next government would uphold the independence of the organisation he currently leads. In the letter, the INDEC chief expressed concerns that the credibility and independence of the bureau may not be respected by those who, he alleged, starred in its "deep institutional uproar between 2006 and 2015."
That remark was a reference to the bureau's controversial time under the control of previous Kirchnerite administrations led by Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Both former presidents famously interfered in the running of INDEC, imposing their own appointees, producing much-questioned statistics and compromising the institute's integrity.
"It is hard for me to be confident that the independence ... would eventually be respected," the INDEC director said at the time, hailing the "full recovery of the service of official statistics of Argentina" under President Mauricio Macri.
Finally, he rejected rumors about the incorporation of
his father, Roberto Lavagna, to Alberto Fernández's cabinet: "He
will not have a position in the Government. He said so himself," he said.
GCH / CJ
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