Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

IMF Releases $4.7 Bln for Argentina

Thu 01 Feb 2024 | 08:39 AM
Israa Farhan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the release of $4.7 billion in new funds for Argentina, commending President Javier Milei’s performance in pursuing "bold" cost-cutting policies to steer the country's struggling economy back on track.

In a statement, the IMF stated that this latest disbursement brings the total amount sent to Argentina under a $44 billion assistance program to $40.6 billion, aimed at "supporting the strong efforts of the new authorities in formulating policies to restore overall economic stability."

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva praised the "bold measures taken by the government to restore overall economic stability and address long-standing barriers to growth."

Milei, who describes himself as a "chaotic capitalist," assumed office as president in December, pledging to reduce spending and end the decades-long economic crisis in the third-largest economy in South America, where annual inflation rates exceed 200%.

However, his cost-cutting measures have also sparked strong backlash and protests, with Argentinians fearing significant burdens as a result.

Milei embarked on his role by devaluing the peso by over 50%, reducing government fuel subsidies, halving the number of ministries, and repealing hundreds of laws to liberalize the economy.

The IMF's announcement came on the same day that the Argentine Congress began a marathon session, which could last several days, to discuss Mili's massive reform bill.

His extensive reform package touches on all aspects of public and private life, from privatization to cultural issues, criminal law, divorce, and the governance of football clubs.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Congress building to express their dissatisfaction with these reforms, and some clashed with the police, who cleared nearby roads and used tear gas, according to AFP correspondents.

Milei's party, "Libertad Avanza," does not hold a majority in Congress, and moderate opposition lawmakers have warned that they will seek further amendments to his reforms, particularly regarding granting special powers to the executive in cases of economic emergencies and privatization.