Argentina adopts measures to prevent the pandemic from deepening its economic crisis



The Government of Argentina announced economic measures on Tuesday, such as support for companies to pay salaries and extraordinary payments to the lower-income population, in an attempt to prevent the effects of the coronavirus pandemic from deepening the recession that has been going on for two years. the country.

“It is absolutely necessary to take emergency measures in a context that is emergency, an emergency that originates from an international crisis of little-known dimensions and that forces countries to take exceptional measures to protect the population and defend their productive system “said the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas.

In an appearance before the press with Kulfas, the Argentine economy minister, Martín Guzmán, affirmed that the “decisive” measures adopted are to “ensure that economic activity will work”, “in a context in which conditions work will be different “due to restrictions on the movement of people.

AID TO PAY WAGES

Guzmán announced that companies affected by the pandemic (leisure, tourism and passenger transport sector) are temporarily exempt from paying employer social security contributions.

Likewise, the Productive Recovery Program will be expanded, a scheme that is already applied in Argentina for companies that declare themselves in financial crisis and for which the State pays part of the wages of their workers.

In addition, unemployment insurance will be reinforced.

STIMULES TO PRODUCTION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Guzmán said that the budget for public works will be increased by 100,000 million pesos (1,550 million dollars), specifically for road works, housing, schools and tourism-related infrastructure.

In addition, a loan program for the construction and repair of homes will be relaunched, a plan that seeks to shore up construction activity, already hit hard by the Argentine crisis.

For his part, Kulfas announced a series of credit packages for 350,000 million pesos (5,426 million dollars) destined to finance working capital, purchase of supplies and give liquidity to the “productive system and the commercial sector so that the productive chain and commercial don’t slow down. “

Of these resources, some 320,000 million pesos (4,961 million dollars) will come from banks that operate in Argentina through loans for working capital at a fixed rate of 26% per year – compared to an inflation forecast for this year of 40 % -.

There will also be loans for food producers, personal hygiene, medical supplies, technological equipment for teleworking and infrastructure in industrial parks.

PRICE CONTROL AND SUPPLY

In the absence of some basic necessities and the price increases registered in recent days in a country already affected by very high inflation rates, the Government warned that it will not allow speculation and abuse.

“We are going to take the corresponding measures to guarantee that there is supply and that there are no pricing practices for those who take advantage of the situation,” Guzmán said.

The Executive will implement a maximum price mechanism for 30 days for 50 categories of products in the basic basket (food, personal hygiene and medicines).

Prices should fall to March 6 values ​​and the government anticipated that inspections in shops will be strengthened and sanctions will be applied to abuses.

AID TO MORE VULNERABLE SECTORS

Additionally, the Government announced aid measures for the lower-income sectors, at a time when the poverty rate in the country is around 35.4%.

On the one hand, the Executive decided to grant an additional one-time payment to beneficiaries of social plans, child and pregnancy allowances and retirees who receive the lowest pensions.

“The objective is to preserve the income of the poorest population,” stressed the Minister of Social Development, Daniel Arroyo.

On the other hand, a reinforcement of financial aid to school and community canteens was announced. and the implementation of a system of viands to avoid the movement of people to picnic areas.

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