The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to restructure Argentina’s debt and provide further financial assistance to the South American country, AgriCensus reports.

A statement from the IMF confirmed the agreement had been reached on 28 January, the report said, while Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez made a televised announcement about the deal.

The agreement is worth US$44.5bn to help deal with surging inflation and pressing currency issues, according to local and international media.

“Governing is an exercise of responsibility,” Fernandez said in his address, describing the previous agreements with the agency as “a noose around our necks”.

“Without agreement, we did not have a horizon on the future. With this agreement, we can order the present and build a future,” the president said, promising that the deal did not force labour reform, reach a zero deficit or reduce public services.

In its announcement, the IMF said the agency and representatives of the country’s government had reached an understanding on “fiscal consolidation.”

“Importantly, it would also allow for spending increases on infrastructure and science and technology, and would protect targeted social programmes,” the IMF statement confirmed.

The deal did, however, call for a strategy to reduce energy subsidies progressively, according to the AgriCensus report.

Prior to the agreement’s announcement, Argentina was believed to be close to defaulting on its existing agreements with the agency, the report said.

A major exporter of corn, soyabean derivatives and wheat, Argentina has faced a range of challenges recently, the report said, including rising domestic prices, the COVID-19 pandemic and near drought conditions across much of its land.