The following is the textual and complete speech of the message that President Alberto Fernández addressed to the Nation:
“Dear Argentine People:
“Last night we took a very important step to start solving another of the enormous problems that we had to take care of. The National Congress signed the agreement with the International Monetary Fund into law.
“It has been a historic moment. For the first time the refinancing of a debt with the IMF is discussed and approved in Congress. It was a decision of my government that makes me proud: never again will a president be able to borrow behind the backs of the Argentines and the Argentines.
“It is also a special day because we came to this law with the consensus of legislators from different political forces who managed to find points of agreement to respond with democratic responsibility to a situation that required it.
“The agreement obtained an overwhelming majority in both chambers of Congress. But we got here also with the consensus and support of governors, businessmen, unions, social organizations and leaders from many sectors who understood the seriousness of the moment and joined their efforts. to make it possible.
“To each and all, my sincere appreciation.
“Once again, conviction and responsible work has served to overcome challenges imposed on us.
“We also did so when we had to face the pandemic, taking care of the health of Argentines and carrying out the largest vaccination plan in history. Today the world observes the enormous effort that we were able to make.
“In the same way we are acting every day in pursuit of the recovery of the economy that has been showing sustained growth in registered employment, production, exports and consumption.
“We have had to govern in a very adverse context. We have been able to overcome the obstacles that have come our way. But knowing all that we have achieved, I am certain that we are at a pivotal moment in Argentine and world history. I realize that today new tensions are added to old challenges that we did not know or could not face.
“Inflation is a historical phenomenon in Argentina, almost a curse that many of us have grown up with. It has been a recurrent alley from which it seems impossible to get out. We have seen packages, plans, big announcements. We also saw them fail over and over again. again.
“We have had double-digit inflation for ten consecutive years. When I took office in December 2019, Argentina had inflation around 54% per year.
“In 2015, the person who preceded me in the Presidency claimed to be able to solve the problem of inflation from one day to the next. He assured that it was very easy to do so. The truth is that he was wrong, he considerably deepened the problem and left his position revealing average annual inflation of almost 41%.
“Solving the problem of inflation in Argentina requires us to review our experience, understand its complexity and give us a way out in which we all commit ourselves.
“The agreement with the International Monetary Fund allows us to start ordering the central macroeconomic variables in the fight against inflation, which is, as we always say, a multi-causal phenomenon. To attack it we must accumulate reserves, improve public credit, decouple domestic prices of the international ones, work on income and price policies at the same time and take a battery of measures in which multiple actors are essential.
“This starting point allows us that Argentina can have more reserves and calm the expectations of devaluation that some generate only looking at their own benefit.
“We will strengthen our reserves and we will be able to put an end to those who sow devaluation expectations that only accelerate inflation.
“The agreement also allows us to improve the position of our country with the rest of the world and strengthen investment projects that help insert our companies into the global world.
“In these first two years of management, in each country I visited, they took it upon themselves to warn me of the importance of Argentina regularizing its debt with the International Monetary Fund. This was necessary so that Argentine companies could access credit. “Now we can unleash all the productive opportunities of our country. In addition, we will be able to finance the capital expenditure of our government, with international and bilateral organizations, as well as continue to strengthen internal financing. This will allow us to depend less on the monetary issue and make our Central Bank stronger.
“But this will not be enough. We also need to strengthen expectations. We will only achieve this if we are able to sit around the same table, building the necessary understandings to build the future. We cannot do it while we continue to live in a country where some, just in case, raise prices with total disdain “We cannot continue allowing some to take advantage of an exceptional moment to accumulate profits to the detriment of Argentine society.
“To face this battle, we need everyone’s commitment. This problem affects us as a social group that we are. It affects companies that cannot plan. It affects the pockets of families that cannot make ends meet.
“The domestic price of wheat used for bread, which was being sold at around 26,000 / 27,000 pesos per ton before February 20, rose rapidly to values above 30,000 pesos as soon as the conflict began, and in the last days it exceeds 35,000 pesos per ton.
“This clearly affects us and adds to the many problems that we already have and that we all already know. It would be absurd to blame the war for our inflation. But the truth is that it is having a negative impact and causing greater problems. I have a duty to warn you that this international context complicates things even more.
“Inflation is a serious problem for Argentine men and women. The war aggravates it.
“I have heard that Argentina should not have problems for being a food producing country. I wish it were like that. We produce much of the food that we consume in our homes. But the formation of its prices does not depend entirely on us. These they are formed in international markets, whose values have risen and will continue to do so and, consequently, are already putting pressure on domestic prices.
“I have also heard that this war represents an opportunity for Argentina. I believe that a war, no matter where it is, can never become an opportunity. A war is always bad news. A tragedy from the human point of view, but also from the social and economic. “From the humanitarian point of view we have already seen it with the crude images that come from Ukraine. From the social point of view, we see it with the enormous migratory crisis from its neighboring countries. And from the economic point of view, the consequences are already beginning to be seen.
“That is why, as President of the Nation, I have the obligation and responsibility to protect the Argentine table from these economic consequences. Our objective must be, on the one hand, to guarantee the provision of supplies so that the supply chain and, on the other, to ensure that the prices of the most relevant consumer products are accessible to Argentine families.In our country, no family is left over and therefore no family will be left alone.
“I am not going to remain passive in the face of this situation. Doing nothing would have very clear consequences: the increase in wheat would increase the production costs of bread, noodles, and flour that millions of Argentines and Argentines consume. It is about increases that unfortunately we are suffering due to the macroeconomic disorder that we had to face, but about an impact that would hit households even more with unusual rises in the basic basket.
“I have made a decision to protect Argentines from this unexpected phenomenon and hopefully it will be transitory.
“I have decided to establish a stabilization fund with the aim of avoiding the transfer of this rise in the international price to the price paid by Argentines. I have instructed my ministers to take the necessary measures and they will be in charge of communicating them from in the morning.
“Guaranteeing bread on the table of Argentine women is fundamental and is at the center of the decisions we are making in the face of this emergency. But it is just one part.
“I have decided that the economic cabinet concentrates from this moment on implementing all the necessary measures to face inflation, in particular what we see in food. I have given instructions to my ministers to build agreements with the different sectors but that they do not hesitate to apply all the tools of the state to set and enforce the necessary measures.They will be in charge of keeping you informed daily about the measures that will be implemented from this very moment.
“We are in an extraordinary situation that requires extraordinary solutions.
“That is why I will convene from this Monday the representatives of the productive sectors, businessmen, formal workers and the popular economy, representatives of the countryside and commerce, small and medium-sized enterprises and civil society to an agreement table that allows us to design a tomorrow in the fight against inflation.
“We hope to find agreements that help lower inflation and guarantee an increase in the purchasing power of wages. We are not going to stop controlling and supervising prices, applying the supply law if necessary and using all the instruments available to the state to meet the objective of controlling prices.
Our battle today is against the speculators. Against the greedy. “Against those who still seek in such complex situations to obtain an extraordinary income. Against the usual doomsayers, who will try to install every man for himself or look for quick culprits and simple answers.
I will not tire of repeating it: no one is saved alone. I will listen to your proposals and your concerns and I will convey to you the paths we are traveling. “It is time for each sector to think about its contribution to this crucial moment in the world and in Argentina.
“On the same path, I will dialogue with each governor and with all the mayors so that the measures we adopt reach every corner of Argentina. We need fighters against speculation and inflation in every business, at every table, in every house. This battle needs each one of us and us.
“We are going to consolidate our Central Bank reserves. We are going to promote investment and national production. We are going to improve the financing of public policies. We are going to deepen the dialogue and the search for agreements to contain prices and improve income.
“We took charge of this problem that affects us all. Everyone’s problem is solved by everyone. We must all be part of the construction of the solution.
“We got on top of the issues in 2020. And we went out to fight the pandemic with a historic vaccination campaign.
“We put ourselves at the forefront of the recovery in 2021. And we achieved economic growth of 10% with records in industry, construction, tourism and metallurgical, among other sectors.
“After having resolved the unsustainable debt with private creditors and with the International Monetary Fund, we must defend our social and economic development. That is why we will also take the lead in the fight against inflation. We will defend and protect the table of Argentine families. We are going to do it together, united, among all of us. “Trusting in our strength and our perseverance. We know the course, we are on the road. Although we have to go through difficult times, we are going to build that Argentina that we dream of.”