Massa sworn in as Argentina’s new “super” economy minister – MercoPress

Massa sworn in as Argentina’s new ‘super’ economy minister

Thursday, August 4, 2022 – 09:59 UTC

Massa has already announced the names of most of his assistants

Former Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa was sworn in as Argentina’s new Minister of Economy, Agriculture and Production on Wednesday as the country seeks to regain some stability after ministers departed Matías Kulfas and Martín Guzmán about a month ago.

Later in the day, the new “superminister” who now manages what was until less than a month ago three offices, announced a series of measures to be implemented from Thursday and are essentially aimed at maintaining balancing the budget by keeping the exchange rate between the Argentine peso and the US dollar within predictable parameters and strengthening the Treasury coffers.

“We are facing a world that oscillates between war and pandemic, and which experiences unimaginable situations. To see countries like Germany turn off lights or burn wood, or close businesses because of energy, France turn off [the lighting of] its monuments, or Madrid turning off shop windows, was unthinkable a few years ago and today we see it,” Massa explained.

“Our goal is to grow with inclusion and we came to work for that,” he continued.

Massa presented four basic proposals (1. Fiscal order; 2. Trade surplus; 3. Strengthening of reserves; and 4. Development with inclusion) and insisted that he would honor Argentina’s commitments to the Fund. international monetary policy (IMF). “We have already had a first meeting with the Fund,” he acknowledged.

The new minister has also pledged to meet the 2.5% deficit target set in the administration’s budget.

“The cash advances will not be used for the rest of the year,” she stressed, stressing that “the state factory freeze is in effect for all sectors of the administration centralized national public service” and declared that, regarding subsidies to public services, “there are 4 million Argentine households who have renounced” this benefit.

And “among the nearly 10 million households that have requested [for a subsidy], we will promote consumption savings. We cannot continue with a system in which whoever spends the most receives the most subsidies,” he stressed.

Massa also announced that the agribusiness, mining and hydrocarbons sectors will be at the heart of the country’s new economic plan, while the administration will also be tough on money laundering, referring suspected cases. to judicial authorities in the United States, where the banks that have handled many of these “export under-invoicing and import over-invoicing”. Hence their competence.

The new minister also spoke of special salary adjustments for pensioners, who have suffered the most from the country’s runaway inflation.

He also announced that the second section of the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline will be put out to tender and that a program will be launched to train 70,000 new programmers over the next 12 months.

The principle of his administration, summarized Massa, is “four engines: investment, production, exports and internal market”. He also stressed that he would call on businessmen and trade unions to claw back workers’ incomes, while categorically ruling out a devaluation: “The only thing devaluation shocks produce is poverty,” he said. he assured.

President Alberto Fernández praised Massa for his “ability and courage” to assume his difficult position. “Let us unite our efforts to move forward; I am not only speaking to my colleagues from the Frente de Todos (FdT), whose unity is essential for me and that is why I will continue to work, but also to all the men and women of Argentina,” Fernández said in a message for business people. and union leaders.

Fernández insisted that the current world scenario represented a unique opportunity for Argentina: “Let’s not let it pass”, he stressed.

The president also thanked Silvina Batakis, Daniel Scioli and Julián Domínguez, who led the three separate ministries merged into one under Massa.

Massa has already announced the names of most of his aides: former Production Minister (2002) and industrial leader José Ignacio de Mendiguren will be Production Secretary, adding to the few moments of deja vu brought by the new cabinet reshuffle . In 2002, Argentina was recovering from the 2001 crisis which led to the resignation of President Fernando de la Rua.

In 1989, Juan Carlos Pugliese left his seat as Speaker of the Lower House to take over as Minister of Economy, when UCR President Raúl Alkkfonsín lost his grip on the country and also was forced to resign the following month. Massa was the speaker of the lower house until Monday.

Massa also confirmed Marco Lavagna as head of the National Statistics and Census Institute (Indec).

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