The conclusion devastates the center of gravity of Kirchnerism led by Christina Kirchner. According to UNICEF, the draft budget for 2023 provides suitable -in most scenarios- in public policies targeting children in a context where more than half of the children are poor.
According to a document which was presented this afternoon in the Committee on Family, Childhood and Youth of the Chamber of Deputies, says the initiative sent by the government “significant risks of insufficient funding for some essential policies for children, such as food security”. The Unicef report was presented by Sebastián Waisgrais, economist and social inclusion specialist at Unicef. The national ombudsman for children and young people, Marissa Graham, was also present, as well as other officials and other organisations. Gala Dias Langu, director of Cippec, also participated.
According to the latest Indec data based on surveys conducted by the Permanent Survey of Households (EPH), 50.9% of children under 14 are income poor in Argentina.
The paper, prepared by Javier Curcio and Julia Frenkel, both of UNICEF, states that at a general level, the cross-sectoral budget for children projected for 2023 represents an annual decrease of around 0.2 percentage points of GDP, which equates to a drop of around 10% in terms of activity level in relation to the projected completion for the current year.
“In constant terms, this expected decline represents a contraction of around 15% year-on-year if the most pessimistic inflation scenario for 2023 is considered, an estimated 8% fall with the intermediate hypothesis and sustained purchasing power (+1% year-on-year) of the national government’s responses to children, if the most optimistic forecasts, which suggest a sharp decline in inflation levels in the second half of next year, materialize.” they calculated.
There are three price scenarios for 2023: one with an implicit price index with a GDP forecast that yields 76.5%; second with a real average CPI plus REM of 91.3% and 60% real end-to-end.
With this correction, the UN agency confirmed, there are many opportunities for non-compliance with the provisions of Article 72 of the Law on the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents (Law No. 26,061)which establishes the immateriality of the funds allocated for children and prohibits reducing the budget compared to the forecast or the performance of previous years.
In response to THE NATION, Waisgrais went further: “If there is no parliamentary change of treatment, understanding the context of instability and uncertainty and fiscal constraints, the challenge of reducing childhood poverty and promoting children’s rights is at risk.”
The draft budget of the team of the Minister of Economy Sergio Massa foresees, according to Unicef- “significant risks of underfunding for some key policies for children, such as food security, income protection actions and responses aimed at expanding the provision of early childhood education and care services.”
After accounting for the burden of children’s programs in the public accounts and after a functional analysis of the budget, Unicef analysts examine the details of the adjustment.
According to experts, The 2023 budget bill allocates $2,710,482 million from the national budget to programs targeting children and adolescents, representing 1.84% of GDP. In relation to the current 2022 budget – which amounts to $1,676,326 million or 2.05% of GDP –, “The estimated budget for 2023 represents a reduction of funds invested in children and adolescents by around 0.2 percentage points of GDP.
“It should also be noted that given the high levels of implementation that some of the programs with the greatest weight in the total indicated budget are present at the time of preparation of this report – mainly the transfer policies to families with children and adolescents , such as family allowances and food allowances – it is very likely that their credits will be extended in the fourth quarter of 2022, increasing the total budget allocated to policies for children and adolescents for the end of the current year,” the document states and says: “If these increases materialize in the final quarter of the year, the projected annual decline in the 2023 budget will be accentuated in real terms in all inflation scenarios considered.”
The 2023 budget for family allowances is $1,432 billion (0.97% of GDP), of which $748,000 million (0.51% of GDP) is to fund asset and liability family allowances and $684,000 million dollars (0.47% of GDP) is to finance Universal Child Benefit and Social Protection Pregnancy Benefit. “These amounts imply declines in real terms across all lines: between 6% and 14% for AAFF, between 9% and 16% for AAFF contributions and between 3% and 10% for Universal Child and Pregnancy Allowances ( AUH-AUE) ”, Unicef specified, based on the three scenarios already reported.
The same thing happens with the food card. The $342,000 million (0.23% of GDP) loan drawn for 2023 implies a very significant drop in real terms for each of the inflation scenarios analyzed (25% for scenario 1; 30% for 2 and 17%, respectively ). for 3 ). “The $37,000 million budget allocated for the construction and furnishing of elementary school buildings through the Strengthening Kindergartens program implemented by the Department of Education, represents a reduction of between 14% and 28% in real terms compared to the 2022 budget, depending on the inflation scenario considered. This 2023 defunding is in addition to the $15,000 budget cut in Administrative Decision 826/2022 in August 2022,” they stated.
The document also informs that the budgets for the construction and reconstruction of child development centers, which are implemented both by the Ministry of Public Works under the program “Strengthening of Social Care and Health Infrastructure”, and by the Ministry of Health have also been reduced Social development within the framework of the “Support for the National Early Childhood Plan” program. Both budget lines foresee a reduction in their budgets in 2023, even in nominal terms.
There are several programs that are protected, UNICEF says. The first, “Promoting and Supporting Early Childhood Spaces” and the second, “Actions for Nutrition – 1000 Days Agenda”. In the field of education, Connect-Equality (+0.07% of GDP) is being strengthened, as well as the programs “Educational Management and Socio-Educational Policies” and “Innovation and Development of Technological Learning”. In addition, the global child and adolescent health budget is ‘protected’ in the context of the overall project contraction, as it increases by 3% in real terms in scenario 1 and falls by 5% in scenario 2. Promotion Funds and protection of rights and the ombudsman are also improving.
“With an opposite sign, Among the programs in the education sector that are showing warning signs for 2023 is that of “Infrastructure and Equipment” (with reductions in real terms between 2 and 18% depending on the scenario under consideration)”, estimated the Unicef experts, who added that the decrease in the budget for the “National Teacher Incentive Fund”, which will have an allocation, should also be noted from $125,000 million in 2023. “This program also shows a significant reduction in real terms (-15%) even under the most optimistic inflation scenario,” they concluded.