Withdrawal of 100% of Paraguayan energy from Yacyretá is a measure of “subsistence”, claims the Director

Asunción, Agencia IP.- The Paraguayan Director of the Binational Entity Yacyretá (EBY, by its acronym in Spanish), Luis Benítez, claimed that the adopted measures about the withdrawal of the total energy that corresponded to Paraguay from the hydroelectric has to do with the “subsistence” of the institution as a binational enterprise.

During a dialogue with Cáritas 680 AM radio, the Director of Yacyretá highlighted that, when he assumed the charge last August, he found that the right margin was in a highly deficient situation, partly because the monthly disbursement from Argentina allocated to the Paraguayan side decreased from USD 18,000,000 to USD 10,000,000.

“With this disbursement of 10 million dollars that they gave us, the first month we did not even get to function the institution, it is complicated. There are many social issues and health programs that are standing by. So, I explained that to my counterpart from the Argentine Republic, and they told me that they were going to try. Still, it was not fulfilled,” explained Director Benítez. 

“So, we have decided to speak with the President of the Republic and the President from ANDE, and we have arranged to retire the energy and give it directly to the ANDE and, through it, at least manage to have the resources to function”, explained.

In that sense, he said that yesterday, Paraguay retired 100% of half of the energy that corresponded to it, according to the Yacyretá Treaty, signed on December 3rd, 1973.

“This also depends on the demand for the consumption of energy. When the consumption is lower, not always 100% can be achieved. But from 10 am to 10 pm, 100% of the energy is retired”, declared. 

Paraguay’s alleged debt

At another time, the Executive Director of Yacyretá was consulted about recent accusations made by the Economics Minister from Argentina, Sergio Massa, who claimed that Paraguay had a debt of thousands of millions of dollars for the construction of the hydroelectric.  

Regarding this, Benítez stated that said declarations are based on the electoral moment going through Argentina, whose general elections will take place in October, and that they have the current Economics Minister as a Presidential candidate from one of the political parties of the neighbouring country.

“In any case, whether there is debt or not, it is from the institution. This is a binational Enterprise, not from the Paraguayan state. This is a discussion from over 30 years, and it is needed that we define it so that we can advance as an enterprise”, pointed out.

Benítez said that two bilateral agreements approached the matter but were never defined permanently. On one side, there are the Reversal Notes from 1992, which were ratified by the Argentine Congress but not by the Paraguayan Congress, and on the other, the Reversal Notes from 2017 (called the “Cartes-Macri” agreement), which the Legislative Branch of Paraguay confirmed., but not treated by Argentina.

“The financial situation is very complicated because there is not a defined tariff system like there is with Brazil. It has to be defined by the next Argentinian government. It is a discussion from over 30 years, and it is needed to settle it to advance as an enterprise”, asserts Benítez.

Savings measures

The Executive Director referred to the financial situation of EBY, highlighting the efforts of his administration to cover all the external requirements. “There are the 20-million-dollar debt of small suppliers now demanding their payments. They are not receiving their payments from eight to nine months ago. We are trying to fulfil our obligations by cutting expenses on everything we can. Only this month we have reduced our fuel expenses on G. 300.000.000, we have cut off the cell phone lines, trying to save everything we can to lower the institution’s operating costs,” he commented.

He also stated that there is an ongoing process of rationalising human resources in the right margin since the previous administration incorporated 548 workers (hired and permanent) into the institution.

Lastly, he commented that he would try that his department of origin, Ñeembucú, has the same social programs that the others have, that integrate the area of influence of the entity, such as Ñemity, destined to support projects from agricultural producers, as well as updating health agreements. The same is sought with the Caazapá department, which is facing a historical social backwardness. Nevertheless, all this will be developed without decreasing the presence of the binational in Itapúa and Misiones, which are also conforming to the Yacyretá affected area.