BUENOS AIRES -- President Cristina Fernandez announced Monday investments in infrastructure projects for 111 billion pesos ($32.65 billion) from now to 2011 as a way of shoring up Argentina's economic growth against the pounding it is taking from the global financial crisis.
She said that this plan "is the most ambitious" in Argentine history and will create some 380,000 jobs with investment in infrastructure that reaches a "record" 5 percent of gross domestic product.
Of the plan's total investment up to 2011 in the energy, transportation and housing sectors, among other works, some $20.88 billion "already have the financial structure needed to carry them out," the president said.
This stimulus plan "was not made in haste, is not improvised nor is it the work of beginners," Fernandez said, adding that these are measures to assure economic growth in the contingency of "the Wall Street tsunami."
The execution of the works, she said, will be in the hands of provincial and municipal governments so that the infrastructure improvements reach "deep Argentina."
She said that the plan, which among other elements contemplates the building of 300,000 housing units, was designed to favor small and medium-sized businesses.
The construction sector, which has some 20,000 small and middling firms, provides jobs for 400,000 workers, a number that the investment plan will boost to around 780,000, she said.
For decades Argentina's investment in infrastructure remained at around 1 percent of GDP, Fernandez said, adding that public works are "a political concept" of her government and of her husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner.
Public Works Secretary Jose Lopez said that construction plans for housing, hospitals, roads, drains and sewers, among others, have been "fragmented" so that the works are executed in 10 months and no company can be awarded more than two contracts.
The stimulus plan for infrastructure also includes the construction of new gas pipelines and electricity generators, as well as the completion by 2010 of Argentina's second nuclear power plant "after 20 years of paralysis," she said.