Massa announces new economic benefits for pensioners and workers

Massa’s announcements Sunday were aimed at absorbing the economic impacts of the post-election devaluation

Economy Minister Sergio Massa announced benefits on Sunday afternoon for pensioners, workers, and people who pay unified tax. The measures aim to compensate for any lost purchasing power following the 22% peso devaluation applied by the government on August 14 and price increases.

Pensioners will receive three bonuses of AR$37,000 in September, October and November: the minimum monthly pension payment is AR$87,000 a month. However, the measure is not new: it adds AR$10,000 to the bonus announced two weeks ago by Massa and María Fernanda Raverta, director of the National Social Security Administration (ANSES, by its Spanish acronym). For each purchase made with debit card, pensioners will also be refunded Value-Added Tax (VAT) up to AR$18,000.

Sunday’s announcements were made in a series of videos published separately over the course of the afternoon on social media. 

There will also be tax relief for those enrolled in the monotributo or unified tax system. The tax, which is a fixed monthly amount, consists of three components: a pension contribution, health insurance paymen, and the monotributo tax itself. Massa announced that unified-tax payers will be exempted from paying the tax for the next six months and a new credit of up to four million pesos, depending on their category (there are different monotributo tax brackets according to annual income).

Massa also announced a new credit program for workers, who will be able to request loans of up to AR$400,000 in 24, 36 or 48 installments with “half the interest rate banks or credit cards offer.” No specifications were given — in another video, the minister said more details would be announced in the coming week.

Beneficiaries of the Family Allowance program (AUH, by its Spanish initials) and the food support program Tarjeta Alimentar will also receive a bonus aside from their monthly payments.

The measures are part of the new “Program for the Reinforcement of the Economic Activity and Argentine Families’ Income,” which is being launched two weeks after the primary elections. The unexpected win of La Libertad Avanza’s Javier Milei deepened the ongoing economic and financial turbulence, with prices and parallel dollar exchange rates skyrocketing.

Massa took aim at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Sunday’s videos, saying that the measures were necessary due to the credit Argentina signed in 2018, “which made it necessary to devalue our tender in the past days” and to the drought, “which damaged our reserves […] but was also a strike on many families’ income.” In its latest staff report on the country’s economic program with the lender, the IMF allowed social spending “to increase within the agreed deficit target” to compensate for the impact of the devaluation.

You may also be interested in: IMF staff report on Argentina: ‘Program has gone off track’


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