After several weeks of silence and a month and a half after the call for bids for the temporary operation of the Hidrovía, the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero, confirmed that the Government will do a second international tender some time later with a more precise system to define the role of the State, at the same time that it will create a control entity with the participation of all the provinces involved in the journey.
“A call for a short tender for maintenance, until the long tender is defined. For us it is essential to advance in a transparent tender that removes any type of noise, “declared Cafiero. The conditions for the new tender will be put together in conjunction with the provinces, the Consultative Council created for this purpose, and the citizen participation of the organizations.
The new tender will include parameters that the current one does not contemplate, especially around the role of the State. One of the main definitions in this sense was given by President Alberto Fernández a few weeks ago. He assured that the State will be responsible for collecting the toll and from there pay the concession.
The entire coastal corridor
Fernández’s definition is key in a context of important reports of under-invoicing of exports that generate a deterioration in tax collection: “Organized crime navigates in opacity, in silence, navigates in distracting us from the important problems that must be addressed. The Coastal Corridor is substantial for the Argentine economy and society. If there are two important issues for the future of Argentina, for the next generations, they are how we resolve the issue of foreign debt and be able to articulate actions to recover money illegally fled abroad with the illicit participation of officials and businessmen and how we resolve the control in the Coastal Corridor “, he reflected on the matter Carlos Cruz, president of the Financial Information Unit (UIF).
The specific tasks of the FIU are to investigate evasion, smuggling, drug trafficking and human trafficking and then present itself as a plaintiff in criminal cases. When the Federal Council of the Waterway was created in December 2020, it requested to be part of and presented four technical documents referring to strategic issues of the Coastal Corridor, related to the preservation of the environment, the creation of a “Federal Economic Information Base” that centralizes the information on the operations carried out on the Paraná-Paraguay channel and on the convenience of opening the Magdalena Canal.
The president of the FIU highlighted the intention of the Government to carry out a transparent tender, “but the collection of tolls in it implies an amount of around 500 million dollars while the estimated smuggling is between 10 and 20 billion dollars annually. It is not only the waterway, let’s look at the coastal corridor and the river, sea, land and air trade ”.
In the Coastal Corridor, 75 percent of agroindustrial exports circulate and allows, according to export volumes and international prices, an income of around 45 and 65 billion dollars.
Cruz stated that these issues constitute a historical problem and recalled that in 1975 he initiated “an investigation into smuggling and illegal exports at a time when it was estimated that the entire soybean crop from that period had left via Formosa / Paraguay to Brazil. At that time there was already a very efficient smuggling network that has grown and led, without euphemisms, to the Argentine economy being highly concentrated in a nucleus of transnational companies that manage the economy, the currency price, access to food, the prices of mass consumer goods, “and this deserves to be taken into account without getting lost on the sidelines.”