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  •  Small producers distribute vegetables to pensioners as a protest for the pension reform back in 2017.

    Small producers distribute vegetables to pensioners as a protest for the pension reform back in 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 17 April 2019 (6 hours 13 minutes ago)

Argentinean pensioners receive only a minimum of US$249, yet the market basket only provides a third of their needs.

A recent study conducted by the Argentinean Ombudsman's Office for the Senior population estimates that since April 1, 2019, approximately 70 percent of pensioners are unable to cover basic need products, included in their market basket.

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The director of the state agency, Eugenio Semino, explained that only 30 percent of pensioners, who receive the minimum wage, can actually cover their market basket needs. This is mainly due to right-wing Mauricio Macri's policies and austerity-induced measures implemented by conditionalities from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Currently, Argentinean pensioners receive the minimum wage for retirement, which is about 10,400 pesos (US$249), yet the market basket for the elderly has gone up to 30,524 pesos (US$733) by March 2019, meaning they can only cover a third of it, affecting more than 2,500,000 seniors.

The Argentinean official added that at the same time, there are also 1,300,000 people who receive Non-Contributory Pensions and the Universal Pension for the Elderly, whose amounts are even less 7,287.25 pesos (US$175) and 8,328.29 pesos (US$200) respectively. "More than 70 percent of the elderly aren’t able to cover their basic needs," he said. 

The market basket for the Senior population is measured twice a year, since 2010. It includes prices from basic need items such as food, hygiene and cleaning products, medication and pharmacy items, taxes, public services and transportation. However, due to inflation rates, the prices continue to go up. 

Since the last measurement was done in December 2018, the market basket cost has increased by 17 percent. Yet comparing it to May 2010, the first measurement, there has been a 1,386 percent surge. 

Retirement, medications, and quality of life have to be a state policy.
 

“Pensioners have resorted to taking out loans to pay for service bills, that's what this government did, indebted the elderly," Congresswoman for the Renovation Front and  President of the Commission for the Elderly Mirta Tundis tweeted Tuesday, adding that Argentineans have “the lowest pensions in 10 years and the most expensive medications.”

And the economy continues its downward spiral, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced Wednesday new policy measures aimed at abating an out-of-control inflation rate that hit 54.7 percent in March, the highest since 1991. The government officials said they had reached a “deal" with 16 corporations to maintain a "price freeze" on 60 basic products over the next six months, until October. 

The economic policy of Macri has taken a toll on the population. Argentina's statistics agency published a study on March 28, which shows that 32 percent of the population lives in poverty and 6.7 percent in extreme poverty. The Argentinean Ombudsman's Office for the Senior has asked the government for an increase of 6,000 pesos (US$144) to the minimum wage for pensioners. 

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