The Government expects to close the agreement with the IMF in the coming days

The Government expects to close the agreement with the IMF in the coming days

Photo: file.

The Government hopes to seal in the coming days the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the debt contracted during the administration of former President Mauricio Macri and hopes to present the details of the understanding to Congress before March 1, the date of the inauguration of the ordinary sessions, said official sources.

The informants said that the negotiations entered the final stretch after the meeting held on Wednesday by the board of the international organization and that the final letter of the understanding between the parties will soon be ready.

Given the expectation of an imminent agreement, the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, is expected to participate in the summit of Finance Ministers and Presidents of Central Banks of the G-20 this year, which takes place in the city Jakarta Indonesia.

There, the Argentine government will insist on its demands to lower the surcharges applied by the IMF to countries with exceptional credits and to give greater flexibility in financing to middle-income countries in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Government sources expressed the hope of being able to present the details in Congress before March 1, the date of the opening of the ordinary sessions, which would allow President Alberto Fernández’s speech before the Legislative Assembly to focus on an agenda for the future based on the growth of the economy, employment and production.

They added that the negotiations gained momentum after the approval of the board, which decided to move forward despite the differences arising from the demands for structural reforms suggested by the IMF and which Argentina rejects.

Although the Government hopes to present the understanding before March 1, the sources clarified that the parliamentary debate will take place in the following weeks.

In the same sense, other sources close to the negotiations with the IMF, highlighted how “important” the result of the Fund’s informal meeting, held on Wednesday in Washington DC, which dealt with the agreement, is for Argentina’s position.

The Minister of Economy assured on Wednesday that the project on the agreement with the IMF will be sent to Congress by the Executive Power with “annexes that will contain all the documents” and “each of the details” of the understanding reached with the multilateral credit organization to restructure the debt of US$ 44,000 million.

“The idea that there are going to be secret documents is nonsense. Once the agreement at the IMF staff level is finalized, a bill will be sent to the National Congress that in its annexes will contain all the documents that are the basis of that agreement, with each of its details,” Guzmán said in statements made to Télam.

For his part, the spokesman for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gerry Rice, had stated last week that the goal is to reach a “definitive agreement as quickly as possible,” which already has prior understandings on energy subsidies and external financing.

photo file
Photo: file.

“Negotiations continue, we are working very closely with Argentine government officials to reach a staff-level agreement. There was an understanding to reduce energy subsidies and mobilize external financing to improve Argentina’s resilience,” Rice said.

The spokesman for the multilateral organization indicated that “there is no face-to-face mission on the agenda in Buenos Aires or Washington, although we aspire to reach a technical agreement as quickly as possible.”

In this sense, it transpired that the United States -informally- endorsed the basic aspects of the economic program that Argentina is committed to executing to achieve the refinancing of the 44,000 million dollars that Macri contracted in 2018.

This position would have been accompanied by Japan and Germany, among the strong countries of the G7, and with weight in the IMF.

Although objections were heard regarding some points of the draft agreement, which had to do with public spending or the lack of structural reforms, the reasoning that a default would be the worst alternative prevailed.

In this sense, diplomatic contacts between Argentine officials -both from the Foreign Ministry and from the Argentine Embassy in the United States- and the United States government, have increased in recent days to achieve progress in the negotiation.

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