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Mexico launches economic relief plan amid COVID-19

Measures include 25% cut in salaries of senior public officials, creation of two million new jobs

Diego Camilo Carranza Jimenez, Daniela Alejandra Mendoza Valero   | 23.04.2020
Mexico launches economic relief plan amid COVID-19

BOGOTA

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador unveiled an economic rescue plan to deal with the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic and drop in oil prices. 

The decree, which entered into force Wednesday after being published in the Official Journal of the Federation, includes a series of measures with which the government hopes to “protect 70% of the Mexican population” as the country faces a health and economic emergency.

There are 11 austerity measures in total, including a 25% reduction in the salaries of senior public officials, the cancellation of 10 undersecretary positions, the creation of two million new jobs and the delivery of 3 million credits of around $1,200 each directed “to the neediest population and the middle class.”

Regarding the first point, Lopez Obrador assured that the salary readjustment for state officials will be progressive. In addition, he indicated that such personnel will not receive bonuses or any other benefits at the end of the year.

On the cancellation of the undersecretary positions, the decree establishes that “employment with the same rank and same income will be guaranteed to those who left these positions.”

Meanwhile, the federal government will not spend 75% of its budget allocated for general services, materials and supplies.

The president stressed that all of the measures contemplated, which depart from the “solutions of the neoliberal period,” are being taken without “increasing the price of fuel, without increasing taxes or creating new taxes and without indebting the country.”

“We are going to demonstrate that there is another way to face the health, economic or any kind of crisis as long as corruption is not allowed and values and principles such as humanism and government for and with the people are strengthened,” said the president during his morning press conference from the National Palace.

“Efficiency, honesty and austerity will allow us to increase the budget to strengthen the shielding of social programs and priority projects by 622.556 million pesos,” he added.

The decree was sent Wednesday by the president to the Legal Department of the Presidency to the Ministry of Interior for processing and subsequent publication in the Official Journal. Its validity will cease on Dec. 31, 2020.

Mexico is the second-most affected country in Latin America by COVID-19 with 857 deaths and 9,501 positive cases. The first is Brazil, with 44,079 confirmed cases and 2,741 deaths.

Then there is Ecuador, with 520 deaths and 10,398 infections, and Peru, with 484 deaths and 17,837 infected.

Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

More than 2.62 million cases have been confirmed worldwide and over 183,000 deaths with at least 710,000 recoveries.

*Daniela Mendoza contributed to this story

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