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Alfonso Romo criticizes the management of the economy and places private investment as the “hope to get out of the crisis”

Alfonso Romo, in his office in Mexico City, in 2019.francisco cañedo

One of the most critical voices of the Mexican government, Alfonso Romo, has once again distanced himself from the president’s speech to position himself in favor of what he considers “the hope to get out of the crisis”: private investment. The head of the Office of the Presidency has indicated that the country’s priority at a time when several crises converge should be to give certainty to companies. “Only with certainty can we put private capital and savings to work to create wealth and counteract the impact of covid-19,” he said. Romo, who opened this Thursday the XLII Convention of the Mexican Institute of Finance Executives, began his message by self-criticizing the Executive to which he belongs: “We cannot handle a country that is decreasing around 9% as if we were growing at 9% ”.

In an intervention by videoconference, López Obrador’s chief of staff reviewed the factors that make Mexico suffer this recession more strongly than other countries: “The health crisis, the fall in the price of oil, the flight of capital at the beginning of these shocks and a very conservative monetary policy ”. In this “convulsive” context, all the paths to economic recovery go through private investment, which represents, he said, 87% of total investment. “It is vital for the welfare of the country and without welfare we betray the fight against poverty,” he insisted.

With this purpose in mind, Romo has called for the rules of the game for companies to be transparent and that once changed, they remain. The comment of the head of the Office of the Presidency comes at a time when multinationals, such as Iberdrola, have announced that they were paralyzing their investments in Mexico due to government obstacles and the lack of clarity in the regulatory framework. Faced with announcements like that, the position of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remained firm, especially in the energy sector: “We are not interested in private business, we are interested in public business.”

However, this Thursday his chief of staff gave a very different version. “We need to have an attitude of zero barriers to investment, so as not to waste an investment, including the Chinese one that is already at risk,” he told the executives.

Romo, who has insisted time and again on the concept of security for companies in his speech, has assured that Mexico has money available, only that he has to work in certainty: “Only with certainty can we activate the 30,000 million dollars available for immediate investment commented by Amexcap [Asociación Mexicana de Capital Privado]. Only with certainty will we be able to activate the 1.2 trillion pesos available from the bank ”.

The official has considered that the country has “a year of oxygen to act and achieve consolidation of the recovery”, thanks to the fact that both the Fitch agency and the Bank of Mexico recognize that there is evidence of economic recovery, in addition to “hopeful variables” such as the increase in exports and private consumption, “in part because remittances have grown by 10%.” In addition, Mexico maintains the T-MEC as a competitive advantage, the Chief of Staff has said, as was also stated by the Secretary of the Treasury, Arturo Herrera, in an interview with EL PAÍS.

“So, what is the lever that we are lacking to consolidate the economic recovery? Private investment ”, said the head of the Presidency, who ended his speech by quoting Benito Juárez. “He who does not expect to win is already defeated. Mexico needs us all working together to achieve an inclusive economy, there will be no social development without us all promoting investment.