By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Although it seems that most national and international financial analysts who have reviewed newly instated Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) 2019 national budget have deemed it as “credible” and “helpful for investors’ sentiments,” there are at least some incongruences in the proposed financial plan.
The budget, which was presented to Congress by Mexican Finance Secretary Carlos Urzúa on Saturday, Dec. 15, provides for the allocation of 374,133,000 pesos for the Presidential Major State (Estado Mayor Presidencial, or EMP), a body that AMLO personally dissolved on taking office two weeks earlier.
The EMP, which had for decades been responsible for the security of the president and his family and cabinet, had, under AMLO’s predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, 2,012 members of elite military staff and an annual budget of between 400 and 600 million pesos a year, according to the previous Finance Secretariat.
The total allocation of monies for the Office of the Presidency under AMLO’s new 2019 budget is 569,844,000 pesos, just 227 million pesos less than Peña Nieto’s allocation for the same office in 2018, 797,418,000 pesos.
The reduction in the 2019 budget was realized through the elimination of funds earmarked for “consulting, coordination, diffusion and support of the president’s activities,” Urzúa explained during the presentation of the proposed expenditures before the Mexican Chamber of Deputies Saturday.
Also questionable is the 2019 budget’s allocation of 236 million pesos (just 4 million pesos less than last year) for the General Coordination of Presidential Air Transport (CGTAP), even though the controversial presidential jet, José María Morelos y Pavón, that was purchased by former Mexican President Felipe Calderón (who preceded Peña Nieto) is no longer in use and is currently in the United States, waiting to be sold.
A total of 19 other presidential airplanes, which had been under the CGTAP, are now under the command of the Mexican Air Force, and thus, not covered by the Presidential Air Transport allocation.
The Congress has until Dec. 31 to approve or disapprove AMLO’s proposed budget.