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ARGENTINA | 13-03-2022 21:25

Argentina's Senate set to open debate on government's IMF bill

IMF bill due to reach Senate Budget Committee on Monday, with the ruling coalition wanting it approved by the end of the week.

The Senate Budget Committee will begin discussing the bill outlining the government’s new financing deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday, with ruling coalition lawmakers hoping that the initiative will be approved by the end of the week.

Economy Minister Martín Guzmán will appear before the committee on Monday, Frente de Todos lawmaker Pablo Yedlin confirmed in an interview with Radio Millenium over the weekend.

Yedlin anticipated that by the "end of next week" a “great majority" of senators in the upper house will approve the agreement with the IMF, which has already been approved by the lower house Chamber of Deputies.

The new Extended Fund Facilities programme, agreed with the IMF late last month, will refinance Argentina’s US$45-billion debt with the multilateral lender – a result of the record US$57-billion Stand-By Agreement signed with the Fund in 2018 by the government of former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019).

Under the terms of the previous deal – which remains in place until a new agreement is approved by both Congress and the IMF’s Executive Board – Argentina faces maturities of around US$19 billion this year, another US$20 billion in 2023, and US$4 billion in 2024.

Last Friday’s vote in the lower house approving the bill sparked violent protests outside the National Congress building. Rocks and strokes were  thrown at the congressional building, smashing windows and causing damage while at least one police officer was hit by a Molotov cocktail.

"The vast majority of us are going to support the president [Alberto Fernández], we are not going to have any major problems," Yedlin, a member of the ruling coalition, told local radio. 

The  new agreement lengthens payment terms, provides for 10 quarterly reviews and delivers a four-year grace period on all repayments. Argentina’s debt would be repaid in a series of payments running from 2026 to 2034.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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