Argentina’s government of Alberto Fernandez is seeking to push through legislation to help solve a mounting debt crisis as the country struggles to make repayments to global creditors.
Economy Minister Martin Guzman said a “debt sustainability” bill sent to Congress on Tuesday was aimed at creating a legal framework to improve debt terms, interest charges and amounts of capital.
“This bill, this law will give us the conditions to be able to structure and execute the operations needed to achieve the aim of restoring the sustainability of public debt,” he said at a press conference in Buenos Aires.
“Today we have an unsustainable debt burden that mortgages the futures of all Argentines.”
Guzman was tapped by center-left president Alberto Fernandez, who took office just last month, to revive the economy and lead debt talks. He said Argentina was asking bondholders to willingly help restructure public debt in an orderly way through a “comprehensive macroeconomic program.”
Argentina faces negotiations with creditors including the International Monetary Fund to restructure about US$ 100 billion in sovereign debt, which Fernandez has said the country cannot afford to pay until it revives its stalled economy.
Guzman echoed the sentiment saying the country, Latin America’s third-largest economy, was willing to pay its debts but needed some relief from creditors to be able to do so.
“We are asking that they give us the necessary time to solve a problem of macroeconomic collapse that has affected all the country,” he said.
The minister, an acolyte of frequent IMF critic Joseph Stiglitz, said talks with the fund were continuing in a “constructive way” and that negotiations would continue on how to restructure payments.
Guzman said most peso debt had been refinanced. The state will look to keep paying interest on its dollar debt via reserves, though it is not making capital payments, he added.
“We want to make promises that can be fulfilled. Make commitments that are feasible to honor,” he said.