BUENOS AIRES — Facing the risk of billions of dollars of debt claims, the Argentine government is looking to maximize its revenues — whichever way it can.
Argentina's tax agency AFIP has decided to start keeping an electronic tab of all the country's livestock beginning next year, tracking their movements and making sure their owners are paying all required taxes. This would not be the first time the government of President Cristina Kirchner seeks to squeeze the farming sector for revenues — it is, well, one of Argentina's main cash cows.
The idea concocted by the agency's chief Ricardo Echegaray is to implant a microchip or electronic tracking device in Argentina's 51.4 million livestock. Through a new system called SIFTA (in English, the Animal Traceability Fiscal System), it would be able to track every bovine's personal history: birth, death, transfer, industrial usage, sale and other taxable procedures needed to obtain a report of its entire history, according to a government document outlining the plan.
SIFTA will also allow AFIP to form enterprises to supply chips and other digital tracking devices. "A new business venture for Echegaray?" quipped Miguel Schiariti, head of the Meat Industry Chamber (CICCRA).
The new digital tagging procedures are slated to begin in January.