Several Argentine opposition groups have started publishing their own GDP index, (as they do with inflation) based on the average of data processed by private consultants which are exposed to the intimidation of President Cristina Fernandez administration officials.
The official presentation of the first estimate took place this week at the Lower House by lawmakers Federico Pinedo, Patricia Bullrich, Pablo Tonelii, Omar de March, Gustavo Ferrari and Carlos Brown, all members of opposition groupings.
“In the first quarter of this year the ‘real life’ index shows that Argentina’s GDP expanded 0.5% in contrast with the 3% released by Indec (the government’s much questioned official stats office)”, said Pinedo who added that “the government insists in saying that the economy is growing, that there is no inflation and that all is fine and blooming, but all that is a huge lie, a lie that will cost the country dearly”.
“The terrible policies implemented in agriculture, the dollar clamp, the imports’ restrictions among others have put a bit to the Argentine economy, but despite all this, the lies of (Domestic Trade minister Guillermo) Moreno continue trumpeted by the government media”, said lawmaker Bullrich.
“The government of President Cristina Fernandez is unable to explain why after several years of growth at Chinese rates we are now in a frozen economic situation. We as lawmakers want to reach the truth about the situation and insist upon the people the destruction that the dishonest stats from Indec mean for Argentina”.
Likewise economist Federico Sturzenegger from the City of Buenos Aires bank warned that the more the GDP is falsely inflated by Indec, “higher is the debt Argentina has to pay on the following year because sovereign bonds are tied to GDP growth”
“If the government of Cristina Fernandez continues to manipulate growth stats, the following year we will have to pay an additional 3.5 billion dollars, a sum far higher than if the true figures were admitted and released”, underlined Sturzenegger.
The same group of lawmakers for over a year now are releasing every month an inflation index which is the average of data supplied by the private consultants estimates, which until recently were fined if they made them public.
The group of opposition lawmakers belongs to the Congressional Freedom of Speech Committee.
The committee’s initiative was born out of claims from the opposition regarding the manipulation of stats by Indec, particularly those referred to inflation and growth, and the fact that Domestic Trade minister Moreno took the private consultants to court and fined them for not revealing how they reached the conclusions that diverge from Indec.
Argentine Indec stats are considered “non trustworthy” by the IMF, World Bank and UN Economic Commission for Latinamerica and the Caribbean, among major international multilateral organizations.
In Argentina organized labour and the provinces under opposition rule have their own stats’ department which show annual inflation rates in the range of 25% to 30%, more than double the 10% to 11% admitted by Indec.
In the case of the first quarter GDP, the difference between the ‘real life’ index and Indec is six-fold: 0.5% to 3%.