BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Construction and public projects "will ignite" Argentina's economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said Tuesday.
"Construction is truly the engine that will ignite the economy, that will provide jobs, and that is why we have paid so much attention to it," Fernandez said at a ceremony marking Construction Day, held at a plant in Olavarria, a city in Buenos Aires province.
Next year's National Budget plans for "investment in public works to increase twofold, to reach 2.2 percent, to be able to generate the jobs that Argentina needs," the president said.
The projects will prioritize the building of family housing, he said.
Argentina's economy could contract by as much as 10.5 percent in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The country reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 3, and as of Tuesday registered 1,381,795 cases with 37,432 deaths from the disease.