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Cash-strapped Argentine town pays employees by raffle

A winding road from Salta to Cachi to the Alto Plano in northern Argentina. Several Argentine provinces have faced economic difficulties due to the nation’s slowed economic growth.

A raffle will determine which civil servants in a small Argentine town will receive their pay first, due to insufficient funds, its mayor announced Monday.

"We will draw lots to decide the (order) of payment," said the mayor of Bialet Masse, Gustavo Pueyo, in a broadcast from Buenos Aires private radio station Radio Mitre.

Pueyo said the raffle was approved by national mayoral authorities and the first draw took place Friday, with 23 of the town's 92 employees receiving their pay. A second raffle is slated for Monday.

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Home to 5,000 inhabitants, Bialet Masse is a tourist destination in Cordoba Province, 750 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires.

Pueyo attributed the city's insufficient funds to a drop in the funding usually received from the provincial government.

Several Argentine provinces have faced economic difficulties due to the nation's slowed economic growth.

Growth slowed by half of one percent in May compared with the same period last year, marking the first downturn since 2009, according to official figures.

Argentina's GDP has grown by an average 8 per cent per year since 2003, but analysts expect the economy will grow by less than half that in 2012.

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