BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s senate overwhelmingly approved a law on Wednesday that will increase state funds dedicated to fighting hunger and improving nutrition as the country grapples with stifling inflation and increased poverty.
The measure establishes a “food emergency” and allocates a 50% boost in the current budget for national public food and nutrition policies, according to the government.
The senate’s approval comes after the lower house overwhelmingly voted in favour of the measure on Sept. 12. It was proposed by opposition lawmakers, including those from the party of Alberto Fernandez, Peronist opposition candidate and the front-runner in the Oct. 27 presidential election.
Argentine economic growth has stalled since last year, while inflation, running at 54.5% for the last 12 months, is far outstripping salaries, leading to a sharp uptick in poverty, official data shows.
The economic crisis spiralled further after the shock results of a primary vote in August dimmed President Mauricio Macri’s chances for re-election.
Macri announced several emergency measures in the week after the primary election in an effort to bring some relief to consumers, including a sales tax cut on some basic food products, including bread, sugar and milk, until the end of year.
Reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Dan Grebler