Following up on yesterday’s big question on whether “the Government was really planning to privatize Arsat 3” the answer is an unwavering yes.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri has confirmed Arsat will merge with the American satellite company Hughes to assemble and commercialize Arsat 3. The merger will result in the creation of Newco, a company whose 51 percent of shares will pertain to Hughes and only 49 percent to Arsat.
Rumors of the commercialization went viral on Monday, after TV show El Destape reported the government’s intentions to privatize the construction of Arsat 3. The news received more pushback than support from the public, as the agreement had been deemed by some as being illegal, since it violates the law of development of the satellite industry passed in 2015.
However, the President decided to overlook these violations and stated that the agreement does not breach the law 27.208 claiming Satellite Sovereignty. The exception was due to the President’s substantial belief that the merger will “maximize the technological capacity of the country and, in particular, of the company Invap,” Arsat’s primary contractor.
According to President Mauricio Macri, Arsat I and II had serious commercialization issues, an error which he does not want to see repeated. “We do not want to repeat the experience of launching an empty satellite. This costs all argentines thousands of pesos” confirmed President Macri in an interview with Radio Seis from Bariloche.
The ‘previous experience’ mentioned was a reference to the satellites preceding Arsat 3 which were launched into orbit before their services were offered in the market.
He also assured that “The guys from Invap do not need to worry, they will continue working, and we are looking at how to maximize their labor”.
Regardless of the President’s reassurances, the opposition is still demanding the issue be debated amongst the legislators. Sergio Massa, who is running for Senator under the party 1País, warned that the government has a very “lax view on the State” and therefore the discussion must “go through Congress and from our block, we are not willing to support it”. Massa is not the only political figure questioning the privatization, pre-candidates for Unidad Ciudadana, Jorge Taiana and Daniel Scioli have also expressed their skepticism.
La privatización de ARSAT viola la Ley 27208 y atenta contra el interés nacional,la soberanía espacial y el desarrollo tecnológico argentino pic.twitter.com/weumZlleO8
— Jorge Taiana (@JorgeTaiana) July 17, 2017
The dean of Social Sciences in UBA provided Página Doce with further disapproval, claiming “it would be an aberration for the State to give its sovereignty in satellite material for the strategical character and the undeniable development the sector has accomplished in our country these past years”.
Even so, the President does not to seem affected by the public’s defiance and warned that “this is just the beginning. This is the beginning of a letter of intent to make progress. Research and development, isolated from the world, cannot move forward”.