Economy Minister Sergio Massa on Sunday confirmed the appointment of veteran economist Gabriel Rubinstein as Argentina’s new economic planning secretary.
The news, which effectively makes Rubinstein the portfolio’s ‘vice-minister,’ finalises the line-up of the team that will assist Massa in his attempt to stabilise Argentina’s economy.
"To confirm the secretary of economic planning we had to wait for the person we chose to resolve a family issue and dissolve his contractual responsibilities incompatible with public service," said Massa in a post on Twitter.
Rubinstein, who has long run his own consulting firm, served on the Central Bank’s board during the administration of late president Néstor Kirchner in 2005, among other government roles. He will help craft the government’s policy response to a currency slump and the fastest inflation in three decades.
A widely-respected economist, Rubinstein will play a key role in Argentina’s talks with staff from the International Monetary Fund over the government’s US$44-billion programme. The government expects the second review of the programme to conclude this month.
Before joining the economic team, he had called on the government to balance its budget and boost its credibility in order to increase foreign reserves and keep “responsible” debt levels.
“Under such conditions, inflation could start to stabilise at reasonable levels,” he wrote on Twitter on August 1. “Otherwise, the risk of hyperinflation will keep knocking at our door.”
On Sunday evening, Rubinstein acknowledged his previous criticism of government policy, which he described as inappropriate.
"I want to thank Sergio Massa for the trust he has placed in me. With professionalism and passion, I will give my best, facing the challenges we have to face," he said. "I would also like to highlight the government's willingness to incorporate me into the team despite the offensive comments I made on social networks that were not appropriate."
There was no specific reference to previous comments that fiercely criticised Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her economic policy during her 2007-2015 administrations. Rubinstein once described the former president as one of “the most irresponsible leaders on fiscal matters.”