La Jornada – The government rules out more resources for the INE; he proposes an “austerity” plan

Mexico City. “With all due respect” -said the Secretary of Public Function, Roberto Salcedo- the federal government today presented the “austerity exercise for the National Electoral Institute (INE)”, so that the agency has savings of two thousand 972 million of weights.

The Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López, pointed out that although this proposal does not mean a response to the INE’s request for additional resources -defined yesterday at 1,738 million pesos-, the Federation’s Expenditure Budget (PEF) “is very committed ” and “there is no margin” for an extension.

During the morning press conference at the National Palace, he argued that it is a priority to guarantee social programs and resources for the health sector.

In addition, he said, there is no precedent for budget expansion to autonomous bodies, such as the INE.

“If these republican austerity exercises are carried out, the money has to be enough,” he said.

He pointed out that based on the work of the specialists of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) “it is concluded that there are no possibilities, there is no margin in the PEF that allows allocating additional amounts to a budget expansion of an autonomous body.”

Without giving details, he said that another autonomous body whose budget was reduced by some five billion pesos, applied cuts in an exercise similar to the one proposed today and with this it was able to fulfill its functions, which shows – he added – that with austerity the money should be enough.

In general terms, the total amount of reduction, according to the proposal prepared by the Secretaries of the Public Function and the Treasury, is integrated from a reduction of 718.8 million pesos in the item of wages and salaries – with the cancellation of the insurance of medical and separation expenses, among other aspects-, and also savings of 554.5 million, equivalent to 15 percent of the remaining operating expense.

In the latter case, the government proposes a reduction in spending on cell phones, fuel, leases, travel expenses, food, and telecommunications equipment, to name a few.

A third aspect to reduce would be the two INE trusts, integrated to attend, respectively, labor liabilities and another for the infrastructure for citizen attention.

In principle, it was established that the authorized budget for the body, to be exercised in 2022, is 19 thousand 736.6 million pesos.

Juan Pablo de Botton Falcón, Undersecretary of Expenditures of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP), pointed out that without considering the allocations for the mandate revocation consultation and popular consultation, the INE has 830 million pesos additional to what was requested for the current year, “which could be used” for those purposes, together with the amount of the savings proposal in question.

He also stressed that the plan is presented in a respectful manner, because the INE is an autonomous body.

He highlighted the convenience of applying a new tabulator for middle and upper management, as well as the elimination of medical and severance insurance, as well as other operational adjustments, in accordance with the austerity law.

Subsequently, Thalía Lagunas Aragón, senior official of the SHCP, presented the issue of trusts.

Also attending the morning conference were Jorge Trejo Bermúdez, head of the Administration and Finance Unit, and Víctor Manuel Mojica Vilchis, head of the SHCP’s Policy and Budgetary Control Unit.

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