BUENOS AIRES – Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay, who was in charge of all aspects of Argentina’s economic policy, was removed from his post by President Mauricio Macri, Cabinet chief Marcos Peña said on Monday.
“President Macri has made a change in the government team... He has asked for the resignation of Minister Prat-Gay,” Peña said, adding that two new ministers have been named to replace him: Luis Caputo for the Public Finance sector – up to now the secretary or that area – and economist Nicolas Dujovne as head of the Internal Revenue segment.
The stabilization of the foreign exchange market, plus the agreement reached with large investment funds that allowed the country to end the default of payments that had existed since the grave crisis of 2001, are two of the chief accomplishments of Prat-Gay in the first year of the Macri administration, though the recession continues.
“We wish to continue the work of Prat-Gay and express our enormous gratitude to him for handling the ministry very strongly in a very challenging year of economic transition,” the Cabinet chief said, adding that because of the “challenges” to be dealt with next year, it was decided to divide the ministry in two and seek the minister’s resignation, “which will be completed this week.”
“He has done great things, such as getting out of the rate-of-exchange trap, stabilizing our international financial relations by ending the default, the possibility of improving our revenue situation and now the amnesty for unpaid taxes,” Peña said.
He added that Prat-Gay is going to have lunch with Macri at the Villa La Angostura in the southern Argentine province of Neuquen, where the president is spending the government’s seasonal recess.
“Due to the differences that sometimes existed over the makeup and functions of the team, we believed it was best for the team to make a change,” he said.
The announcement comes a few weeks after the legislature killed an important bill introduced by the ruling party that sought to reform the taxes levied on salaries, but that was finally passed with a number of changes and following intense debates between the government, provincial governors and the principal union association.