Argentina seeks to spur construction investment with tax and fiscal benefits

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Argentina´s economy ministry said on Wednesday it had sent the country´s Congress a bill to spur construction activity through tax and fiscal incentives, an effort to create jobs and boost investment in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The project exempts investments in construction from the personal property tax for two years. Instead, the bill proposes a single tax for those who declare assets in national or foreign currency and allocate those funds to new works, among other measures, the ministry said in a statement.

The proposal comes as Latin America’s third-largest economy plunges into its third year of recession, exacerbated this year by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a prolonged lockdown to stem the virus’ spread.

The administration of President Alberto Fernandez also sent a second bill on Wednesday to facilitate access to mortgage credit, the ministry said in the statement.

“Today two bills were sent to the National Congress with a focus on the construction industry, a powerful engine to boost the economy and generate jobs,” Economy Minister Martín Guzmán said on Twitter.

Construction activity, a key economic driver in Argentina, plummeted 31.8% in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

“We will be grateful for the support of the National Congress in these initiatives that will contribute to a more vigorous economy,” Guzman said. (Reporting by Jorge Iorio and Eliana Raszewski; writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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