The Manos a la Obra program of the Ministry of Social Development "fails, in its system, to control the eligibility of grantees." Therefore, funds can be transferred to people who do not meet the requirements for eligibility. This was noted by the General Audit’s Office (AGN, for its acronym in Spanish).

The watchdog report says that "this system is the database used by the program to verify, for example, if the applicant is unemployed, registered assets or receives some type of pension." The failure occurred "on 8 of the 9 subsets analyzed."

The 24 budget plan of the Technical and Financial Assistance for the Promotion of Social Employment and Local Development (which oversees the plan Manos a la Obra) has among its objectives "to promote social inclusion through employment generation, participation in community spaces, economic and financial support to productive enterprises "as well as" technical assistance and training in development projects and social economy to the production units and their beneficiaries." For the 2009 administration it entailed an expenditure of $110,064,580.34.

The AGN evaluated during the period 2010-2011 two of the plans that are within the 24 budget program: The National Plan for Local Development and Social Economy "Manos a la Obra", which contains the microcredit program for the Social Economic Development "Father Carlos Cajade", and the Join Work Program (PRIST, for its acronym in Spanish).

The first aims to "improve the income of vulnerable populations throughout the country." Each project is presented to the Ministry of Social Development (MDS, for its acronym in Spanish) by governmental and nongovernmental organizations. It’s administering organizations in the program’s jargon. These organizations are receiving funds and are accountable to the Ministry. The second, the Social Program for Work (PRIST) seeks "to train workers in trades and organize them into cooperatives, for proposed technical assistance and scholarships for training." Applicants in the latter "are shortlisted for technical teams MDS Cities, neighborhoods, and settlements with high social vulnerability." Subsidization "is implemented through the Provincial Governments, Municipal, and Cooperatives as well as Mutual Associations".

In relation to both programs, the audit noted that "the number of rules governing the various programs, their constant changes and changes in the organizational and functional structure does not contribute to provide the necessary precision and clarity that the application requires."

On the other hand, the AGN noted that two of the executing units of the "Manos a la Obra does not have procedural manuals and lack of regulations that set the formal criteria for prioritizing projects" to subsidize.

Record Analysis

The audit also noted that in the case of the cooperative La Fortaleza, which aims to address housing problems in the Villa 20 in Buenos Aires, "has inconsistent information in the technical report on the progress of a project, because it reported on the acquisition of machines, tools and supplies and purchased invoices were dated after the report." This means that when the report was filed, these materials had yet to be purchased. In this item "more than $78,643 were allocated."

Moreover, in some cases, "there is no record in the minutes of delivery of machinery -purchased by the subsidy Administering Organization- final beneficiaries of the project." The report cites the example of an agricultural education plan in Cañuelas in which "of $546,752 only $68,095 were allocated for the purchase of artifacts", it was unknown if the machinery was actually transferred to the applicants.

The report, published in December 2011, states that "in all three cases (of project samples) in which funds were used for training or technical assistance there isn’t a record of the number of courses taught, programs, objectives, duration, and participants. "For example, a training project for knitting, another for production, and a marketing seminar that "were financed with $59,840." There are also two other projects with the same "defect": an enterprise of manufacture and pottery sales that was given $26,400 and a venture for "strengthening entrepreneurs" that was granted $132,100 for technical assistance.