The president we have now is normal, he has common sense and he wants to make the country normal and sooner than later, we'll be there; he has a normal world in his head, said Carlos Melconian, head of Argentina's Bank of the Nation in reference to president Mauricio Macri, during a conference in Montevideo where he was invited to talk about Argentina, the new rules of the game and their impact for Uruguay,
With this change of mentality, all things from the Kirchners' time abnormality are being knocked out added Melconian who added that Argentina has been suffering from four years of recession and if current conditions don´t improve recession will be four and a half year, not half a year, as they want the people to believe.
Among the misbalances the Macri team found when they arrived to office and had access to the books were nine years of inflation, 5% of GDP budget deficit, a Central bank with no international reserves, an overvalued Peso, bottom rock public utility rates and huge subsidies. Melconian revealed that subsidies to transport, residential gas, and power are a cosmic black hole equivalent to six points of GDP, which the Kirchner administration simply addressed by printing money. So now we have a double task, get those six points down and generate genuine resources.
Salaries were consistently increased above inflation, the US dollar cost was 9 Pesos when it should have been 15 and public utility rates were ten times below their equilibrium point. That is not distribution or helping the poor and needy, that was preparing a time bomb, and we're not 'baby-eating' right wing conservatives, we´re only trying to launder what is possible, not the impossible indicated the economist.
Melconian then illustrated with an everyday situation, during the Kirchner years you always had to be ready for some daily malice, ill intended decision, but with this common sense man (Macri) you have to expect something different, in effect during the hard K times nobody would be polite, and today when you arrive to the bank or your job and say 'good morning' everybody jumps in their chair, they can't believe it.
Melconian also mentioned that before he arrived to the Bank of the Nation, Banco Nación there were no loans for soybean farmers. One day I receive a phone call from president Macri and he asks me if it was true that soy farmers had credit banned in the bank? I said yes and he ordered me to eliminate the resolution immediately. It's worse than that I told him, there's no resolution, it was a verbal order
But Macri insisted, go get hold of the manager by the neck and ask him, where's the soy farmers' clamp resolution?. So I repeated, manager says there is no resolution, they would send people from government to check no credit was extended to farmers and if just one cropped up, it was hell for the man.
So Melconian recalled I eliminated the credit ban for farmers with no need of issuing a resolution. I simply called a media conference and made public that the ban had been eliminated”.
Government run Banco Nacion is similar to a development bank, it finances agriculture and industry with relatively soft loans, manageable conditions and at longer terms than the private banks.