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Argentina Postpones New Measures

October 29, 2001

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Argentina’s government postponed the unveiling of measures aimed at rescuing the country’s struggling economy, saying Sunday it would need more time to prepare the economic package.

President Fernando de la Rua had said on Saturday that he would go on television Sunday to explain the new measures. But his spokesman, Juan Pablo Baylac, said the president’s address will come on ``Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.″

Meanwhile, senior ministers, including powerful Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo, met with De la Rua Sunday to work on the economic reforms.

The delay is the latest postponement of a package of measures that had originally been expected immediately after Oct. 14 congressional elections.

Economists said the delay was worrisome.

``This shows there is a big internal discussion,″ Manuel Solanet of the economic think tank FIEL said, adding this ``is not good.″

De la Rua’s government is hoping the new measures will help push Argentina out of a 40-month recession that has sent unemployment above 16 percent and put the country on the brink of defaulting on its $132 billion public debt.

The measures were expected to include a tax cut to boost consumer spending, government spending cuts, aid to struggling companies and a debt swap. In addition, the president is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet.

The government is also hoping to announce a deal with governors slashing the amount of financial aid it gives the provinces.

The national government says a deal is crucial to its ability to run a balanced budget next year. However, governors have so far resisted the cuts, saying De la Rua’s administration is going back on previous agreements.

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