Asking an accountant for a summary on a financial issue is always a mistake because they can never give you a short answer. But since Adri is a chartered accountant, I asked her about the financial mess, anyway.
Her opinion is that, due to the lack of legal certainty (seguridad juridica) in this country, with laws being changed on the fly, sometimes every single day, depending on which way the wind is blowing, things will not change and Argentina will always be stuck in this mess.
Take one example - the wealth tax.
In 2016, then president Macri brought in the money amnesty (blanqueo) where people were persuaded to declare their assets, much of which were abroad. But in the end it was a honey trap, being told that the taxes would be as follows, bearing in mind that in 2015 the taxes were 0.50 to 1.25%:
- 2016 0.75%
- 2017 0.50%
- 2018 0.25%
- 2019 a promise to bring the tax to zero.
Then the elections came around and Massa persuaded Macri not to put that tax at zero, but to reinstate it at 0.25 to 0.75% in exchange for Massa bringing all his votes to Macri at the election. But in the end, Massa stabbed Macri in the back and went with his votes with team FF, but the change had already become law.
Now the new team FF is proposing the wealth tax at anything up to 1.25% and double that for accounts held abroad.
That's just one example shifting goalposts and legal uncertainty.
As for the official rate, she reckons it's held artificially low because businesses couldn't manage the real rate and would probably go out of business. So in a way, they are being subsidised.
The farmers? When they sell their soy beans they sell in USD, receive the official rate and they can only be paid in pesos, thus requiring them to buy USD at the higher rate on the black market.
Is it really fair to export and invoice in USD and receive toilet paper in return?
If laws are not written in stone, but are changed constantly on the fly, legal certainty becomes a mockery and a pipe dream.