BUENOS AIRES – President Mauricio Macri unveiled on Monday an austerity plan that calls for a drastic reduction in the size of his administration, with the 22-member Cabinet being slashed by half, and new measures, such as a tax on exports, to deal with Argentina’s economic crisis.
In a televised address to the nation, Macri said his plan will send a clear message to the markets of his intention to cut government spending in order to control the deficit and check inflation, which has soared over the past few days due to a significant depreciation of the peso against the dollar, as well as to wipe out corruption forever.
Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne is expected to discuss the “technical details” of the economic measures at a press conference later in the day.
On Tuesday, Dujovne will present the plan in Washington to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a revamp of its agreement with Argentina, which will be “ready within days,” Macri said.
The president, who admitted he has flaunted too much optimism about his plan, justified the dramatic reduction of his Cabinet “to less than half” due to the economic problems at the moment, which in his opinion call for “condensing” his government team “in order to make it more in line with the upcoming agenda.”
He also said that “to cover what is needed during this transition that has turned into an emergency,” he will ask “those more able to contribute” to do so, a reference to the increase in taxes on exports.
Macri added in his 25-minute address that his change strikes “at the root of the problem” and that “we all have to give up something if we want change,” while regretting that in Argentina, “potentially one of the richest countries in the world,” a third of the population lives in poverty.
The president admitted that with the devaluation of the local currency, “there will be an increase in poverty,” for which he announced a “strengthening” of social spending during the last two months of the year, plus other measures to ease the impact on the poorest people in the country.