Argentina to increase taxes and cut government departments

4 Sep 18

The Argentinian president has vowed to increase tax on exports and scrap numerous government ministries in a move to restore the economy.

President Mauricio Macri said that Argentina could not keep spending more than it earned, as he made the announcement to tackle what he called an “emergency” created by the country’s currency crisis, in a televised address yesterday.

Taxes on exports of some grains and other products would increase and “about half” of government ministries would be abolished or merged, he said.

He did not explain when the taxes would be altered or give any additional details.

Local news outlets have reported that between 10 to 13 ministries would be merged or chopped, including the ministries of science, culture, energy, agriculture and tourism.

Macri also said in the statement that he would allocate more economic aid and strengthen food plans for Argentines living in poverty and have been affected by the high inflation.

The peso currency has lost more than 40% of its value against the US dollar this year. To stop the devaluation, the country has been forced to impose interest rate hikes and tighten the fiscal deficit target.

Last week, Argentina asked the International Monetary Fund for the early release of a $50bn loan, in a move to restore confidence in the economy.  

The IMF confirmed Wednesday last week it was looking to strengthen the arrangement.

Managing director of the fund Christine Lagarde said in a statement: “I stressed my support for Argentina’s policy efforts and our readiness to assist the government in development its revised policy plans.”

Argentina’s finance minister is expected to meet with the IMF this week.

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