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May 27, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017

ANSES expects greater deficit

The ANSES social security agency, responsible for 43 percent of the federal government’s budget, expects the programme’s deficit this year to exceed 0.4 percent of GDP in 2016, ANSES executive director Emilio Basavilbaso said in an interview on Tuesday.

A higher deficit from the agency could complicate President Mauricio Macri’s plans to cut the country’s overall budget deficit without getting rid of social benefits in a congressional election year.

“The deficit will be bigger because we are reaching the limit of pension coverage. We have coverage of about 98 percent (of the population),” said Basavilbaso. “It is a clear sign that we did not come here to reduce social benefits.”

Macri, who took office in December 2015 promising to end free-spending populism, is trying to lower the fiscal deficit from 4.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 to 4.2 percent this year and 3.2 percent in 2018. He seeks a better credit rating and more investment to fuel economic growth.

Basavilbaso said Congress could start to discuss a pension reform by the end of the year. He offered few details but said privatising the pension system was not an option.

“There are other countries that have a manageable deficit, such as we have now, but if we do nothing, it would be irresponsible for the future,” Basavilbaso said.

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