Télam / Analía Garelli

Speaking from the Casa Rosada this morning, President Mauricio Macri announced that approximately 1,000 government officials working in the Executive branch are set to be cut from the federal government’s payroll.

He also said salaries for other officials in the public sector have been frozen for the rest of 2018 as part of an initiative that, the government says, matches the “efforts” made by Argentine society to tighten its belts.

In addition, a decree to be signed in the coming days will ban immediate family members of ministers to be employed in the executive branch.

The three measures were introduced today by President Mauricio Macri upon his return to the country after his European tour to Russia, Switzerland and France.

“We’re proposing new structures, that will allow us to be more agile and more attentive, better prepared to govern better. And to govern better means to resolve people’s problems. For that reason we’re going to reduce close to 25 percent of the political staff. That’s 25 percent of spending in the Executive branch,” said Macri this morning.

That cut translates into a reduction of spending of about 1.5 billion pesos (US$ 76.6 million) a year, according to the government.

He also said salaries have been frozen for the political staff that will survive the cull. No estimates were provided for any kind of savings for this measure.

“Austerity has to start in the world of politics. As public servants, our only priority is to work to improve the lives of citizens” said Macri.

In the coming days, a decree will also come into effect prohibiting immediate family members of ministers from having any positions in the Executive, and Modernization Minister Andrés Ibarra confirmed that the measure would have retroactive effect and would apply to immediate family members such as parents, children, siblings, spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law

“I know that with this measure we’re going to lose some very valuable members of the team and that’s hard for me, but we always said that we wanted to make the country more transparent and I hope that this example is followed by everyone in Argentine politics. I invite every jurisdiction in the country to take similar measures.”

The measures come as this year’s wage negotiations are about to begin, with the negotiations with teacher’s unions already sparking some tensions.