Summit meeting of several ministers with large food companies to oil the participation of these groups in the next tenders for Social Development
After the scandal of overpricing in the purchase of food that a few weeks ago generated the opening of a judicial investigation, the Ministry of Social Development decided to go out and look for large companies in the food sector as suppliers to the State.
He did so after the tender last month when the portfolio directed by Daniel Arroyo carried out a million-dollar operation that was in the sights of the Justice for suspected corruption and payments higher than the maximum prices defined by the national authorities themselves.
With this objective, during the day of this Thursday, May 21, there was a meeting between the main food groups and official officials to encourage the participation of these companies in the upcoming tenders for food purchases.
Executives close to 30 companies like Mastellone; Nestlé; Sancor; Rio de la Pata Mill; Bunge and Unilever were summoned to the headquarters of the Ministry of Productive Development to analyze the return of large food groups as suppliers to the State.
Morixe envoys were also present; Adecoagro; Unilever; Oleo General Deheza (AGD); Arcor and Ledesma, among other companies, together with representatives of the business entities COPAL and CLERA.
The ministry that Arroyo leads carried out a million-dollar operation that was in the sights of Justice
The purpose of the meeting was to change the process that the Government had been facing to respond to the needs of the vulnerable population, in the framework of the health emergency caused by Covid-19 and in which only intermediary companies that ended up winning the tenders with values above market values.
“We want to strengthen food purchases for the Ministry of Social Development and for this we invite you to count on your collaboration in tenders, to simplify operations and shorten payment terms, which is a reasonable request from companies in the sector “, said the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, during the meeting.
Similarly, the Minister of Social Development, Daniel Arroyo, explained that “the purchase and distribution of food is one of the most important, which is why the participation of businessmen and producers in the system is essential if we bear in mind that before We fed eight million people and now 11 million. ”
Both ministers were accompanied by the Secretary of Internal Trade, Paula Español; the secretary for Social Inclusion of the Ministry of Social Development, Laura Alonso; and the head of Banco Nación, Eduardo Hecker.
“We want to strengthen food purchases for the Ministry of Social Development,” said Kulfas
The presence of these front-line officials shows the importance that the Government wants to give to transparency in these purchasing processes, after the operation through which a group of intermediaries was awarded the purchase of a series of food for almost $ 350 million at prices well above those established by the authorities themselves for the sale of the same products in supermarket shelves.
Although in the press release sent by the authorities, it is highlighted that the objective of the meeting is to guarantee the supply of the State demand, which increased after the pandemic emergency, the need to leave this scandal behind and avoid new irregularities is the main reason behind the call for large food groups.
In this sense, Banco Nación made available to companies financial instruments for working capital so that they can supply state demand.
And the officials stressed the importance of working together with companies to guarantee supply in the context of the increased demand for essential products for vulnerable sectors.
The first step was taken last week when Molinos Río de la Plata and Morixe were awarded purchases of oil and flour for Social Development.
In the case of the food owned by the businessman Ignacio Noel, he participated to sell the national state 340,000 kilos of flour and made the lowest offer for a global amount of $ 10.7 million and a unit price of $ 31.50 per kilo.
In the case of the Perez Companc family company, it will supply the State with 340,000 containers of 900cc of mixed, gluten-free edible oil, Ideal brand, with a unit price of $ 52, and for a total amount of $ 17.6 million.
Both operations will be aimed at satisfying the demand for goods and services in the emergency to provide comprehensive responses to the food needs of the most deprived sectors of the population.
In particular, to attend to the population in a situation of vulnerability to the National Food Emergency established by the Decree of Need and Urgency No. 108/02, which was extended until December 31, 2022.
Also for the public emergency in health matters established by Law No. 27,541, expanded by Decree of Necessity and Urgency No. 260/20, by virtue of the pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in relation to the coronavirus, for a period of one year from last March 13.
But these purchases had been suspected after the complaints against the operation through which a group of intermediaries had claimed a millionaire sale of oils, noodles and other staple foods.
At the time, the transaction ended up being annulled, a court case was opened to investigate the purchases, and a large group of officials close to Minister Arroyo were fired from Social Development.
In fact, in the same tender in which Molinos Río de la Plata participated, some of the firms involved in the cause of the price premiums competed since the process included the purchase of other food for a total of $ 115.7 million, based on the Wholesale prices reported in the Electronic System of Advertising of Argentine Prices (SEPA).
In this framework, in addition to the company of the family of one of the richest men in Argentina, four intermediaries appeared, such as Distribuidora Alvear; Area Group; Copacabana and Valquiria.
In fact, the offers presented by Grupo Área, Distribuidora Alvear and Valquiria exceeded the established prices and were rejected as there was also no improvement in the price proposals.
For this reason, the purchase of 1.3 million 900cc containers of mixed edible oil was declared unsuccessful.
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