Argentina’s Upper House approved Wednesday an extension for the Food and Nutrition Emergency (EAN) bill, which establishes at least a 50 percent increase in the national budget for public food programs in socially vulnerable areas.
Argentina: Lower House Extends Food Emergency Until Dec. 2022
The project was unanimously approved with 61 votes in favor and no votes against or abstentions. Now after been ratified in the Senate, there will be a period of 10 days for its promulgation by the president.
Presented by the opposition to mitigate the social consequences of devaluation and high inflation, the EAN bill extends until December 31, 2022, the national food emergency that was decreed in 2002 after the freezing of bank accounts, an event which forced authorities to create the National Food and Nutrition Program.
On Sept. 12 Argentina’s Lower House approved by 222 votes in favor and just one abstention the extension, which was preceded by mass demonstrations in Buenos Aires, held for four days in a row, despite the fact that President Mauricio Macri tried to contain the demonstrations through the use of police force.
Argentinian economic growth has stalled sharply since last year, while inflation is far outstripping salaries, leading to a sharp uptick in poverty.
The National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec) forecasts that food prices will increase by 80 percent next December when at least 1 out of every 10 Argentinians will be going through extreme poverty and homelessness. At the beginning of 2019, there was already 14.3 million people living in poverty.
"The situation is getting worse and worse. In the beginning, only children attended dining rooms for the poor. Now there are also parents who have lost their jobs," Monica Diaz, a woman who coordinates 23 social soup kitchens at Lomas de Zamora, in Buenos Aires, said.