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    Argentinan gov't takes over the $30 billion private pension system

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    22.10.2008 - 10:07 | Son Güncelleme:

    Argentina's center-left president, Cristina Fernandez, signed a bill on Tuesday for a government takeover of the $30 billion private pension system in a daring and unexpected move that rocked domestic markets.

    The government said the aim of the move is to protect retirees from falling stock and bond prices as the global financial crisis continues.

    Labor leaders and lawmakers from the ruling Peronist party and some opposition groups applauded the nationalization as a way to guarantee pensions at a time of global market turmoil.

    The announcement sent the Buenos Aires stock market, the Merval, down nearly 11 percent, and led analysts to question whether the nationalization, which is subject to approval by the Argentine legislature, puts property rights at risk and threatens the rule of law in the country.

    Critics said the government was looting pension funds ahead of a tough budget year when it has to find billions of dollars to pay and service debt, but the president said the private pension fund administrators were the looters.

    "These were looting policies," Fernandez said of the private system in a ceremony at the government's National Social Security Administration (ANSES), which will take over the pensions, Reuters reported.

    Congress, which is controlled by Fernandez allies, will debate the bill next week.

     

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