After two years of arduous negotiations, the government of Alberto Fernández announced this Friday an agreement with the IMF to restructure the debt of 44 billion dollars contracted by the government of Mauricio Macri.
The President announced through a recorded message that the program will be submitted to Congress and expressed a request to the opposition: “We need you to support this agreement and I thus appeal to the national commitment of everyone.”
The agreement must go through Congress to comply with the provisions of the Law to Strengthen the Sustainability of Public Debt, sanctioned in February 2021. According to this rule, promoted by Alberto Fernández himself, the Legislative Power must authorize any indebtedness above the limits of the Budget, as well as loans with international organizations such as the IMF or the World Bank.
But first the letter of intent for the agreement must be signed by the IMF board, which today analyzed the details of the preliminary agreement reached by the technical staff. This process could take several days, which will make it difficult to deal with the agreement in Congress during the special sessions in February.
Although the Executive has already sent the agenda for that period, among whose most important projects are the Fiscal Consensus 2022 and the reform of the Judicial Council, could add the agreement with the IMF with a simple decree.
At the press conference that the Minister of Economy, Martin Guzman, he toasted after the President’s announcement, explained that The agreement is expected to have parliamentary approval by March 21., which would allow avoiding the payment of US$2,800 scheduled for that date, the US$1,900 that should be paid 10 days later.
Therefore, the agreement could enter the Chamber of Deputies during the extraordinary sessions but it will be debated and approved in the first half of March, after the start of the ordinary sessions.
There, a debate full of tension is expected with the opposition of Together for Change, which celebrated the agreement but also pointed out some criticism for the absence of “substantive reforms” and an economic plan that lowers the deficit.
“Anything that leads to agreements with international organizations is good news,” said Radical Governor Gerardo Morales. However, he questioned the delay in closing the agreement due to “the obsession with the story of Kirchnerism.” “A year of anguish could have been avoided,” he said.
Radical senator Alfredo Cornejo expressed himself along the same lines: “It has been 40 months since today’s expiration date has been known and all that time the agreement with the IMF has been going around; reserves have been lost in the middle”.
As detailed by Guzmán, the understanding implies a new two-and-a-half-year program during which the IMF will make quarterly reviews of the agreed goals and disbursements of money that Argentina will use to cancel the standby contracted by the government of Mauricio Macri and strengthen the Bookings. Then there will be a 10-year period to pay off the refinancing, starting in four years.
Although the Government received an encouraging nod from the Córdoba Federal bloc, which brings together three deputies: Deputies Carlos Gutiérrez, Natalia de la Sota, Ignacio García Aresca. Through a statement they advanced yesterday that both the agreement with the IMF and “the consequences that may entail” are the responsibility of the Government and, therefore, will not “hinder the treatment in Congress.” The three deputies will facilitate the quorum but will abstain from voting.