(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s top economic officials are squabbling over the country’s weak economy.

Central bank President Julio Velarde appeared to criticize Finance Minister Jose Arista at a mining event this week. 

Velarde, who has been in the role for 18 years, said that finance ministers in the past were able to stop Congress from increasing public spending. But he said finance ministers were now too scared of being fired by Congress to criticize or try to stop certain initiatives. 

“Let’s hope that our next president has a congressional majority,” Velarde said. President Dina Boluarte has been in power since December 2022 without any congressional representation. Her popularity has dipped to 7% as she has been besieged by corruption scandals, massive protests and bad weather while navigating Peru’s second-worse recession in 33 years. 

The confrontation is rare in Peru, where Velarde is revered as a cornerstone of economic stability. Velarde’s longevity in the role since 2006 has seen him outlast over a dozen finance ministers. 

Arista blasted Velarde back Friday. “Maybe Julio should listen to the ministry’s request about being more proactive at reducing interest rates,” Arista told reporters. 

While the central bank has cut rates from a high of 7.75% last year to 5.75% currently, the lowest among its regional peers, Arista said that is not enough. “It doesn’t help restart the economy as fast as we’d like,” he added. 

Velarde has been hailed for taming inflation quickly, which most recently hit just 2.4% on an annual basis. 

But Velarde was criticized last year for holding on to optimism that Peru’s economy might be able to grow in 2023, even as monthly economic data piled on suggesting an ongoing recession. He is now forecasting inflation will continue to slow down this year. 

“We hope (Velarde) doesn’t make as many mistakes as last year,” Arista said. 

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