Argentina's vice president Cristina Kirchner says IMF payments "cost more than COVID"

She said payments to the IMF for the year cost 1.1% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), versus 0.9% for COVID-19 assistance.

Cristina Kirchner, vice president of Argentina
Cristina Kirchner, vice president of Argentina, talks with Alberto Fernández, president of the country 11/11/2021. Photo: REUTERS/Matias Baglietto/ File Photo
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Argentina’s vice president Cristina Kirchner criticized the payments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying they cost the country more than the coronavirus pandemic. The statement comes at a delicate moment in the country’s $40 billion debt renegotiation with the Fund.

She blamed the conservative former president Mauricio Macri for the country’s debt problems. Macri’s government struck a record $57 billion deal with the IMF in 2018 but failed to prevent an economic crisis.

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“It’s pretty clear that in 2021, the ‘Macrist’ pandemic cost the state more than the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cristina wrote in a blog on Tuesday.

She said payments to the IMF for the year surpassed spending on COVID-19 relief, citing figures and indicating that loan repayments cost 1.1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), versus 0.9% for COVID-19 assistance.

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Reuters was unable to verify the details of her calculations.

The IMF destined more than $4 billion to Argentina when it allocated more than $650 billion to its members last year. The Fund did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Argentina is trying to strike a deal with the IMF before the end of March – the country has about $18 billion in debt maturities this year.

The two sides do not agree on how quickly the country should reduce its fiscal deficit.

(Translated by LABS)

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