Public Investment executed during 2019 totaled AR$251.52 billion which, after adjusting for AR$67.28 billion of advances to suppliers included last year asset adjustment of Real Direct Investment, amounted to AR$184.24 billion (-29.7% real variation YoY). This is explained by the reduction of capital transfers (-39.7% YoY), which could not be offset by the increase in Real Direct Investment (2.1% YoY) so public investment measured as a proportion of total expenditure (3.94%) and GDP (0.85%) dropped in 2019.

The current appropriation was 15.6% lower than budgeted in real terms, execution level was at 82.8%, and the average value was AR$4,100 per capita, implying a drop compared to 2018 in real terms.

Expenditure on Real Direct Investment totaled AR$ 87.06 billion in 2019, of which 89.5% were investment projects and 10.5% acquisition of capital goods, with an implementation level of 79.7% and 64.0%, respectively. The drop in Real Direct Investment was of -13.8% YoY in real terms, compared to 2018, given that the decrease in the acquisition of capital goods (-62.9%) could not be offset by the increase of investment projects (+2.1%).

Last year ended with 782 projects with positive current appropriation for AR$97.75 billion, 50% of which were concentrated in 14 projects (1.8%). Only one work comprised 96.5% of them and the rest contained multiple works bringing the total to 840.

The 50 most important works accounted for 72.3% of current appropriations and the financial investment reached 79.4%, a level comparable to the average. The physical execution of these 50 works was highly variable, as the initial programming ranged from 0% to 100%, with an average of 34.9%, while the executed works ranged from 0% to 81.1%, with an average of 17.4%. Of the 840 investment projects under execution, 43.7% showed a minimum degree of physical progress and 19.8% showed a high degree of progress.

On the other hand, 70.4% of works have started in previous years, and 10.8% started in 2019, and the projected duration of works is on average 5.9 years, although concentrated in the range of projects of 5 to 6 years and 1 to 3 years.

In 2019, there were 250 investment projects for the Plan Belgrano with a current appropriation of AR$14.8 billion (-26.3% real variation YoY) and expenditures for AR$16.76 billion, of which 57.7% were incurred by the Northwest region and 42,3% by the Northeast region.

Analysis of National Public Investment projected in the 2020 Budget Bill

Analysis of National Public Investment projected in the 2020 Budget Bill

The Budget Bill submitted to Congress in September 2019 estimates a public investment amount for the national government at AR$232.21 billion, with an estimated nominal increase of 19.6% year-on-year with respect to the 2019 closing projection made by the Ministry of Finance.

Public investment of the entire National Public Sector (NPS) -including government-owned companies, trust funds and other entities- would amount to AR$318.02 billion, according to the Message 2020, which is equivalent to 4.9% of the total expenditure of the NPS. This implies a drop of 10.9% year-on-year in relation to what was projected for this year.

The largest increase is in capital transfers made by the national government to other entities or jurisdictions to carry out works or purchase goods, which increased 32.4%. Real direct investment (works projects and equipment acquisition) only increased by 6.1% YoY.

The geographical breakdown of these transfers shows a concentration in the Pampas Region, basically in the Province of Buenos Aires (18%) and in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (10.3%), jurisdictions in which half of the real direct investment is concentrated.

The Bill provides for the execution of 995 projects to be carried out by the national government for an average amount of AR$80 million each. The total amount shows a decline since 2011: from 0.68% of GDP in 2011 to 0.25% in 2020.

The largest amounts are allocated to railway works, such as the improvement of the Belgrano Cargas Railway, which involves several jurisdictions and would demand AR$5 billion, and to the laying of highways, including Route 19 connecting San Francisco with Córdoba or Route 8 connecting Pilar with Pergamino.

In the rest of the Public Sector, the main direct investments would be carried out by government-owned companies: Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A. (36.9% of the total), and Integración Energética Argentina S.A. – Ex- ENARSA (30.3%).

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