Argentina to comply with IMF fiscal targets
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentina's new economy minister has said
the country intends to comply with the cost-cutting measures and deficit
reduction targets set as part of a $40 million International Monetary Fund
emergency aid package.
In his first public comments since assuming office last week, Ricardo Lopez
Murphy said among his priorities will be to trim Argentina's budget and curb
spending -- key elements for the country to maintain access to the emergency
funds made available in December.
Fiscal goals related to the budget, the spending freeze, "and the agreements
the IMF have to be met," Lopez Murphy was quoted as saying in an interview
with the Argentine daily, Clarin.
Last year's IMF-led rescue package calls on Argentina to reduce its budget
deficit for this year to $6.5 billion. But economic data released last month
showed a slowdown in industrial production and higher-than expected
government spending may complicate its ability to meet the target.
An IMF delegation is to travel to Buenos Aires later this week to review
Lopez Murphy is expected to announce new measures aimed at jump-starting
faltering economy -- now mired in a 32-month recession -- within the coming
days. An emphasis on increasing tax collections and reducing government
spending are expected to among the initiatives
Argentine businessmen have urged Lopez Murphy to include tax breaks as
of his plan. He said Sunday the government would move to ease hefty tax
burdens once South America's second-largest economy begins to grow again.
Whatever reforms Lopez Murphy proposes, he is likely to face resistance
opposition lawmakers and the country's powerful unions, both of whom worry
about cuts in social spending.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.