September 3, 2018 / 3:36 PM / 21 days ago

Argentina scraps nine government ministries in austerity push

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina slashed the number of government ministries to 10 from 19 as part of an austerity push, the government said in a statement on Monday, adding that former Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne’s title would change to Economy Minister.

FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri speaks during a news conference at the Olivos Presidential Residence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

Most of the current cabinet will remain in the government as secretaries, rather than ministers. Cabinet Chief Marcos Pena will remain in his role, while former Modernization Minister Andres Ibarra was named vice cabinet chief. The statement did not say whether the two current vice cabinet chiefs, Mario Quintana and Gustavo Lopetegui, would remain in the government.

“Given what is ahead of us, I have decided to make my team more compact, in order to focus our response on our upcoming agenda,” President Mauricio Macri said in a television address earlier on Monday, when he announced the government would slash spending and raise export taxes in an effort to accelerate cuts to the fiscal deficit.

Current Energy Minister Javier Iguacel will stay on as energy secretary, reporting to Dujovne, while Labor Minister Jorge Triaca and Agriculture Minister Luis Etchevehere will stay on as secretaries reporting to Production Minister Dante Sica, according to the statement.

Reporting by Luc Cohen and Scott Squires; Editing by Daniel Flynn

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