There is a law, sanctioned in 1999, that has an article that was never regulated. This is number 8 of 25.152, Public Resources Administration, which states that all documentation produced within the scope of the National Administration will be freely accessible information for any person or institution interested in apprehending it. The National Audit Office (AGN) prepared a paper, submitted to Congress, which states that, due to the same shortage of regulation, the Executive Branch performs a "partial compliance" with the norm.

Article 8 of the law specifies what should be taken as public information. For example, subsection "L" refers to community control of social expenditures and, according to article 5, jurisdictions and entities of the National Public Administration in charge of executing programs classified in the social services purpose, should have been subject to "Community management and control mechanisms" before December 31, 2001. However, the AGN states that "there is no further development" in the provision of such data, which would also have to be provided by the Chief of Staff of Ministers.

The technicians detected that within the site there is a link, "transparency", which "continues to provide reference to the same three agencies that would fulfill the purpose of community control": the Information, Monitoring and Evaluation System of Social Programs (SIEMPRO, for its acronym in Spanish); the National Tax and Social Identification System (SINTyS); and the Directorate of Analysis of Public Expenditure and Social Programs. It appears that these areas "do not include in their objectives, nor committed, what related to the type of control required by law," the report says.

Other information that should be publicly accessible is related to the payment orders entered and the payments made by both the General Treasury of the Nation and the rest of the Treasuries of the National Administration. The AGN affirms that these data continue to be known in a global way, that is, without disaggregating items. In fact, the General Treasury itself assured that it will continue to advertise information in this way "until such time as Article 8 of the law is regulated", based on a "consultation with the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic, since the identification of the beneficiaries could violate the confidentiality protected by Law No. 21,526 of Financial Institutions ".

On the other hand, the control body also emphasized the "lack of publication of the lists required by subsection 'F', regarding the beneficiaries of retirement, pensions, and withdrawals of the Armed Forces and Security, of Law 25.326 (Protection of Personal Data), the advertising of personal data is allowed but, in relation to the income or remuneration of the persons, the express consent of the holders is required".

In accordance with Article 8, subsection "G" refers to the status, maturity profile and cost of public debt. On this point, the AGN pointed out that "Central Government Debt, constituted by guarantees and guarantees issued, is not published with the details required." Nor are inventories of real estate or financial investments available, as set forth in "I". In both items, real estate, and financial investments, only global data are available and there are no detailed references.

The Chief of Staff’s Response

The National Audit Office conducts quarterly reports on access to public information, which are then submitted to Congress. In this case, the work was approved this year and covers the period July-August 2009.

In their conclusion, the auditors insist on continuing "requesting the regulation (of the law) in order to reach its objectives, referring to the publicity of the information originated from the Public Administration."

Also in that section, the opinion of the Directorate of Budget Evaluation, which is under the aegis of the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers, is recorded. This office states that "the aforementioned article of the law is sufficiently operative in itself, and there is no obligation to regulate it. The alleged level of imprecision is, therefore, a matter of opinion and of free interpretation." But, beyond its insistence, the Federal Watchdog recalled that "the need for regulation of Article 8 has been reaffirmed by means of express requirements of Joint Resolutions of both Chambers of the National Congress, requesting the Executive Power of the Nation to proceed to regulate Law No. 25,152."

However, there was another officer who also responded to the AGN. This is the Cabinet Chief of Ministers, who stated in a note dated October 14 last year: "It does not appear from the text of Law 25.152 that it is mandatory that the public information required in article 8 should be published exclusively by Internet". "It is right," admitted the Audit, adding that it was "the enforcement body (the Office of the Chief of Staff, who) decided to use the internet, justifying this decision in the communication power of this medium that allows access to a flow immense information that is presented in an updated way." Aside from the crossing, the auditors pointed out that the Cabinet Headquarters had also not communicated "what other means or mechanisms exist to obtain the information required by the regulations at hand."

More from the Chief of Staff. Following the closure of the AGN report, on January 19, 2010, the Officer sent a note with content similar to his previous response, adding that "a regulation of Law 25,152 is unnecessary since this could be considered restrictive when the will of the Executive Power is precisely the opposite.” In the same text, it expresses that "it should be taken into account that due to the volume of documentation produced by the National State, it would be impossible to state the same, in a way that would be useful to anyone who wanted to access, if the law were taken in a broad interpretation.”

To Take Into Consideration

These are the items included in article 8 of Law 25,152, that is, information that should be publicly accessible:

(a) States executing expenditure budgets and calculating resources, up to the last level of disaggregation in which they are processed;
b) Purchase orders, signed contracts, and anticipated funds
c) Payment orders entered into the National Treasury and the rest of the treasuries of the National Administration;
d) Payments made by the National Treasury and by the rest of the treasuries of the National Administration;
e) Financial and occupational data of the Integrated Human Resources System administered by the Ministry of Finance, on permanent, contracted and transitory personnel, including those financed by multilateral organizations;
f) List of beneficiaries of retirement, pensions, and retirement of the Armed Forces and of Security;
g) State of play, maturity profile and cost of public debt, as well as guarantees and guarantees issued, and commitments for future years;
h) List of accounts receivable;
i) Inventories of real estate and financial investments;
j) State of compliance with the tax, social security and customs obligations of companies and individuals before the AFIP in accordance with the regulations it determines;
k) Information on the regulation and control of public services, in the regulatory and control bodies thereof;
l) All the information necessary for Community control of the social expenses referred to in article 5, paragraph b), of this law. The foregoing information shall be made available to the interested parties by the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers;
m) All other relevant information necessary for agreement with the rules of the national financial management system and those established by this law.