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Argentina's president announces new austerity measures

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    Agence France-Presse

Buenos Aires, Argentina | Mon, September 3, 2018 | 10:20 pm
 Argentina's president announces new austerity measures Screen grab taken from a handout video released by Argentina's Presidency showing Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaking to the nation during a televised message to announce austerity measures, including the elimination of government ministries and stiff taxes on exports to reduce budget deficits and stabilize the economy, in Buenos Aires on September 3, 2018. (Agence France-Presse/Argentinian Presidency)

Argentina's president Mauricio Macri announced austerity measures Monday, including the elimination of government ministries and stiff taxes on exports to reduce budget deficits and stabilize the economy.

The center-right president admitted in a speech to the nation that Argentina was facing "an emergency."

"We must confront a fundamental problem: to not spend more than we have, to make efforts to balance the state's accounts," he said in the televised address.

Argentina is one of the world's biggest exporters of corn and soy oil. Addressing rich agricultural exporters who will face export taxes, he said: "We know its a bad tax, but I ask you to undertstand that it's an emergency."

In a bid to reassure Argentines increasingly concerned over austerity, he said he would allocate more aid to the country's poor, suffering from the effects of high inflation.

"We will overcome the crisis by taking care of the most needy," promising "increased allocations, food programs and price caps on some commodoties."

Several ministries will be eliminated, which will result in a decrease in budget and staff.

Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne recognized in a press conference later that "mistakes had been made" in managing the economy and announced measures to cut the budget deficit to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2019.

Dujovne was speaking before flying to Washington for a meeting with the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday to finalize a deal to speed up disbursement of a $50 billion loan agreed in June.

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