The decree 427/2021 published this Thursday in the Official Gazette confirmed that the Paraná River waterway will be managed by the State when the extension of the current concession ends, as the Transport Minister had anticipated on Tuesday, Alexis guerrera and for weeks ago they promoted various references of Kirchnerism linked to the vice president Cristina Kirchner.
The General Administration of Ports (AGP), led by the Kirchner from Santa Cruz José Beni, will be the official body in charge of the service, although everything would be supervised by Transport -the ministry under whose orbit it operates- and some tasks, such as dredging, could be outsourced to specialized private companies.
The date of termination of the private concession in force since 1995 depends on whether the current 90-day extension, established by decree 129/2021, is counted in consecutive days, with which it would end on July 30. If working days are counted, in that case the deadline would end in mid-September.
The regulation signed by President Alberto Fernández, the Chief of Cabinet, Santiago Cafiero, and Guerrera establishes a period of 12 months “extendable until the taking of service by the one or those who are awarded the national and international public tender commissioned by the Decree No. 949/20″, The long-term plan that former minister Mario Meoni outlined before dying in a road accident on April 26.
The decree consists of 4 main articles: in the first the powers of the AGP are expanded, so that it can “assume the concession of works and / or the administration, provision of all types of maintenance and operation services of the inland waterways that are granted and / or entrusted to it, performing the acts that correspond to execute in such character, by itself or through third parties ”.
In the second article AGP is granted “the concession of the operation for the maintenance of the signaling system and the dredging and redrawing tasks and the corresponding hydrological control of the Main Waterway ”, the official name of what is known as the Paraná-Paraguay waterway.
The third article is the most descriptive of the conditions service provision, which the Ministry of Transport must prepare and approve. The recitals of the decree state that “the powers of the Control Body of the Concession Contract are in charge of the Secretary of Transportation Management, with the assistance of the Undersecretariat of Ports, Inland Waterways and Merchant Marine, both dependent on the Ministry of Transport.
In addition to the aforementioned 12 months, it is established that the portfolio led by Guerrera will establish “the rate base and the financing mechanism for the tariff or toll system that the AGP will receive … without prejudice to the subsidies, subsidies and / or transfers of contributions from the National State that temporarily prove necessary to carry out, for the purposes established in the contract ”.
That last sentence is striking, considering that For 25 years the service has operated with private financing, without the need for State contributions.
In what is perceived as a promise to agribusiness, the decree indicates that between Transporte and the AGP, “the procedure for the eventual review of rates and / or tolls, contemplating participation u opinion of users, representative entities of the related sectors and obliged to pay “.
It will also be necessary to define for the aforementioned 12-month extendable period “the plan of works to be executed and the technical parameters required for its execution, as well as the quality levels or standards for the adequate provision of the related services involved ”.
In this sense, point c of article 3 provides “the delimitation of rivers, channels, areas, sections, traces and / or sections in which the Trunk Waterway will be formed or segmented, so that said sections at any time they may be affected or disaffected with respect to the scope and object of the contract, totally or partially, in relation to the different services provided therein ”.
Other details that Transport and the AGP must define on the provision of the service are “the acting control authority and its scope, together with the methodology for monitoring and evaluating the economic and financial equation of the concession ”and“ the regime of the goods granted in concession and the obligation to carry out an inventory ”.
Among the conditions of the concession, the AGP was instructed that in the contracts it enters into “Include the incorporation of staff that, as of the expiration date of the current concession, it will perform within the framework of the Collective Bargaining Agreement N ° 1366/14, providing services for it “.
It is also indicated that the AGP should celebrate the “Necessary contracts to guarantee the navigability of the Trunk Waterway, maintaining the current level of service provision”.
Lastly, the Ministry of Transport was entrusted with the regulation of the intervention of the General Audit Office of the Nation, the General Audit Office of the Nation and of any other body whose action contributes to the timely control Yet the transparency of the acts of execution that are carried out within the framework of the concession contract ”.