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Martín Guzmán: “The task entrusted to me by the President is to work and stop the fall”

The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, gave a press conference this afternoon to inform the main guidelines of the economic program. From the auditorium of the Ministry of Economy, Mr. Minister said: “It is clear that we have come to solve a very deep economic and social crisis. The situation today is extremely fragile. What have prepared a macroeconomic program, which is a program to stop the fall, given the restrictions we face today. ”

He also said that the model implemented by the previous management failed: “It is a model that in the world in general has never worked, it has generated greater vulnerability in the countries where it has been implemented and that is what happened in Argentina. Poverty rate is already close to 38%, extreme poverty rate in the second quarter of 2019 was 7.7% and it kept increasing, and unemployment rate doubled and it also continues growing. ”

“The task entrusted to me by the President is to work to stop the fall, to reassure the Argentine economy and lay the foundations for a development process that is sustainable and of course with social inclusion,” Guzmán said.

Regarding the fiscal issue, the official acknowledged that the country has problems: “Argentina has to converge to a situation of fiscal balance in which a primary surplus is reached. It is necessary for the achievement of debt sustainability. The problem is that it can’t be done all at once. 2020 is not a year in which a fiscal adjustment can be made because it would deepen recession. ”

Mr. Guzmán also said that “in 2020 we expect to start a gradual but persistent deflation process. It should not be addressed only with monetary policy as was done in the recent past; this must be dealt with from a comprehensive macroeconomic strategy”.

Regarding the debt issue, the Minister of Economy said that in order to avoid a brutal fiscal adjustment, it is necessary to solve this problem: “To be able to pay, the economy has to recover. We want to have a constructive relationship with all our creditors, with the private ones and with the IMF, understanding that there is a problem here and that we have to solve it so that everyone benefits and the creditors can collect ”.

In addition, a special ad hoc unit will be created for the Management of the Sustainability of External Public Debt. Guzmán will be running that unit as a minister and will be responsible for the design of external public debt policies.

As a first step, the official said that, during the period of extraordinary sessions in Congress, a Bill on Productive Reactivation and Solidarity will be presented. It will contain measures aimed at dealing with this economic and social crisis and the central premise will be to protect the most vulnerable population, understanding the budget restrictions, and restoring the conditions to stop the fall in the activity.

As for the economic team that will accompany him in the Ministry of Economy, it will be composed of the Secretary of the Treasury, Raúl Rigo; the Secretary of Finance, Diego Bastourre; the Secretary of Economic Policy, Haroldo Montagu; and the Secretary of Tax Policy, Roberto Arias. The Director of the International Relations Unit, Maia Colodenco, will also be part of the economic team. Meanwhile, Sergio Chodos will be proposed as Director of the Southern Cone before the International Monetary Fund.

“I am very happy to work with this team because they are professionals with great technical capacities, with outstanding trajectories and a deep knowledge of the public sector. Everyone shares this premise of protecting what is ours, what is public, what we have: representing the Republic, ” Mr. Minister said.