Poverty in Argentina increased 5 percent (over 2 million people) during the first three months of the country’s newly elected President Mauricio Macri, according to a new report published on Friday by The Social Debt Observatory of the Argentine Catholic Church.
The study attributed the alarming rise in poverty to the policies enacted by President Macri, who since becoming elected in December 2015, has implemented several controversial measures including mass layoffs of public sector workers as well as the removal of government subsidies on public services such as electricity, transportation, water and gas.
The latest increases in the cost of public transit and other services have far outpaced wage increases. The monthly minimum wage in Argentina is 6,060 Argentine pesos per month, or just under US$415. The last increase was Oct. 2015.
These policies combined with the decision to devaluate the country’s currency “creates an increase in poverty,” Agustin Salvia, director of the UCA stated.
“In the short term if the government doesn't find a way to reduce the rising cost of basic goods and or stimulate job growth, than it will become much more difficult to reverse the current trend increasing poverty levels,” the UCA report warned.
According to the study, poverty levels rose from 29 percent at the end of last year to 34.5 percent by mid-march.
Meanwhile, the UCA findings call into question Macri’s presidential campaign pledges in which he promised to achieve “zero poverty” for the country.
The UCA, which is considered to be one of the best private universities in Latin America, is also where President Macri earned his degree as civil engineer.
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