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News > Latin America

Argentina: Amid Austerity Push, Macri Spent Nearly US$57M of Govt Funds to Fly Abroad

  • The right-wing president's over two- year presidency has been marked by severe cuts to education, health, and other sectors.

    The right-wing president's over two- year presidency has been marked by severe cuts to education, health, and other sectors. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 July 2018
Opinion

The news comes at a time when Mauricio Macri has revealed more austerity measures, including freezing some of the government salaries and cut jobs.   

As the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri has implemented a series of austerity measures in the South American country since taking office in December 2015; a recent report has revealed he spent millions on overseas travel during the same period. 

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According to the report, Macri spent over US$57 million of state funds to travel to various conferences and to attend meetings. The sum took the form of rental of charters and the purchase of regular tickets in a policy, which contradicted Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's mandate that presidents and government officials should use the national Aerolineas Argentinas. According to the report, only one of Macri's trips used Aerolineas Argentinas.   

The Argentine daily La Nacion compiled the report by using a freedom of information request. According to the documents received, Macri made 28 trips abroad and visited 20 countries and 32 cities. Only seven of these transfers (six to bordering states and one to Colombia) were made with the presidential fleet.  

For cabotage flights to the provinces, however, Macri, for the most part, used the two aircraft of the official fleet, Reuters has reported. 

The news comes at a time when Macri has revealed more austerity measures, including freezing some government salaries and cutting jobs.   

"Austerity has to be part of politics," Macri proclaimed in a recent televised address as he announced a clampdown on several political positions, including advisers appointed by the government ministers. The executive branch government employees have been placed on a wage freeze this year while one out of every four "political positions" appointed by ministers will be cut, Macri said.

The right-wing president's over two-year presidency has been marked by severe cuts to education, health, and other sectors as he spent time dismantling the trade and currency controls set up by his socialist predecessor, Cristina Fernandez, who had expanded the role of government in the economy.

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On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, formally approved a US$50 billion aid package intended to help Argentina confront inflation, budget deficits and a weakening currency, officially accepting the agreement that Argentina struck last month, a move met with widespread protests by labor unions, and Argentine protesters against austerity. 

Per the AFP, Argentina will draw the first US$15 billion installments of the aid program, of which half will be used for budget support while treating the remaining US$35 billion as "precautionary," IMF noted. 

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