Following quickly in the footsteps of the national government, Governor María Eugenia Vidal has announced she will introduce a series of anti-inflation measures in Buenos Aires Province aimed at boosting consumption and purchasing-power.
Last week, the Mauricio Macri administration announced a battery of measures designed to halt the rise of inflation, improve purchasing-power and halt the flight of foreign currency. The steps include capping the prices of a number of "essential" basic items, mostly food, as well as a freeze on public utility increases.
The decision to implement the price-cap scheme was made public last week, as the 2019 electoral season heats up and the government struggles to improve the negative perceptions among voters over its handling of the economy.
Vidal, speaking earlier today at Government House in La Plata, said the provincial government's measures would follow a similar path. She said the measures were intended to "relieve the pockets" of those living in the province, who she said were facing a "difficult" time.
The governor, who leads the nation's most populous province, said that the measures were intended to "accompany the families of Buenos Aires and alleviate their situation at this difficult time."
"We know that in the Province there are many people who are making an enormous effort just to raise their families every month," said Vidal, adding that she wanted her administration to provide "concrete answers to the situation."
She was flanked at the press conference by her economic team and representatives from Banco Provincia.
Among the measures will be steps that are already in place. For the third year running, for example, the province continue its '50 percent discount' with Banco Provincia reimbursing half the cost of items purchased in supermarkets.
"We guarantee that every third and fourth Wednesday of the month, they will be able to have a reimbursement cap of up to 2,000 pesos for the purchase of food in supermarkets," Vidal said.
The measure applies to all residents in the province who request it, she explained, detailing that those interested must have a Banco Provincia debit card. Those without an account with the bank may ask to open one at no charge. Eligible items include food, non-alcoholic beverages and hygiene and cleaning products. The scheme runs until November. Supermarket chains involved in the promotion include Coto, Día, Carrefour, Jumbo, Disco and Vea.
In line with the announcements at the national level, increases in electrictiy tariffs will also be suspended, Vidal confirmed.
"We have decided to freeze increases in the distribution part, and no part of the electricity bill should increase by the end of the year," said the governor.
The provincial government will also take steps to assist some 17,500 families who have taken mortgage credit lines through Banco Provincia, placing a cap on the level of installements that matches 30 percent of a household's incoming salary. Foreclosures will also be suspended for a year, as will punitive measures for those who fall behind on payments.
Additional measures for small- and medium-sized businesses will also be introduced, Vidal confirmed, including specific actions for footwear and textile producers.