March 27, 2020
1. President Alberto Fernández announces series of measures to curb COVID-19 effects
In a television interview, President Fernández confirmed his government would take the following actions:
- The suspension of repatriation flights for Argentines abroad except for those over 65 years old until further notice.
- The sending of a bill to Congress freezing rent prices and prohibiting evictions.
- The freezing of mortgage payments
2. Ministers of Economy and Productive Development announce economic interventions
Amidst a tumbling global economy and the declaration of an emergency health decree domestically, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas jointly announced several intervention measures in a bid to avoid stagnation, control prices and secure the distribution of essential items. The ministers took actions that include the exemption of employer contributions for the most affected sectors, an additional ARS $3,1000 (USD $48.84) for recipients of the universal allowance per child and ARS $3,000 (USD $47.26) for those receiving the minimum pension. Also, they referred to the structuring of the unemployment insurance program price controls on a variety of products, flexible credit for industries and extra budget allocations for public works projects as well. In this sense, they announced the re-launching of the Procrear housing plan, among others. Regarding foreign trade, the ministries will require prior authorization for the export of consumables and medical equipment the country will need to confront the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the government will accelerate the payment of reimbursements for the industrial export sector.
3. World Bank to loan USD $300 million to Argentina
The World Bank approved a USD $300 loan to help Argentina traverse the coronavirus crisis. The decision was announced by the multilateral lender’s vice president, Axel van Trotsenburg to President Alberto Fernández via videoconference. The funds will be used to “strengthen the social protection system and minimize the impact of the crisis” in the country’s most vulnerable sector. Moreover, in a conference call with G20 members, President Fernández proposed the creation of a Global Emergency Humanitarian Aid Fund to tackle the coronavirus pandemic
4. Who can travel during stay-at-home order
Following the establishment of mandatory quarantine, which began last Friday at midnight, the government launched a series of initiatives to ensure that Argentines comply with the preventive social distancing measures rooted in limiting the spread of the coronavirus. JeffreyGroup developed a report containing all the necessary documentation to travel within the country, specifically for those employed in transport for the provision of essential activities. Additionally, the report includes movement information for those with sworn declarations required by the national government for caretakers of children/teenagers and the elderly.
5. Economy Minister gives conference on economic situation
Via a web conference, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán presented a summary of the Argentine economy’s current situation and projections for the future to creditors, focused primarily on debt sustainability. Guzmán emphasized the fact that Argentina must continue to search for a solution to its debt problem – despite the current global situation – all the while demonstrating its good faith as a borrower over the previous months. He also stated the importance the Fernández administration has placed in resolving this issue, and that the web conferences would continue given the impossibility of in-person meetings. The presentation revolved around four primary axes: the current situation in Argentina, debt sustainability, a review of the government’s plans and next steps.