Three entities in the country do not meet the minimum transparency criteria for how they plan to spend their annual budget and hide information such as their public debt balance and the trusts they have.
These include Chiapas, Mexico City and, ultimately nationally, Michoacán, according to the State Budget Information Index published this Tuesday by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO).
The case of Chiapas is critical, since in the last measurement, in 2017, it had had 98% transparency. However, as the organization explained, the change of government last year discarded the model they already used to publish their budget, so it now only reached 54 percentage points out of a total of 116 criteria evaluated on the information made public.
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The greatest opacity was in terms of the publication of the places held by the public administration and the wage tabulators that pay them. Then, in the area of public debt, amounting to 20 thousand 355 million pesos, which represents 7.2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
There is also no disaggregated data on money for social aid from its budget of 91 billion pesos.
In Mexico City, the incoming administration maintains the opacity that has characterized the entity, which two years ago obtained a 57% rating and this year, 52%. The least clear items were on how money is classified, information on how much will be spent on political parties, social communication and social aid, as well as the lack of transparency on public debt.
«The Assembly is voting and approving a budget without knowing the terms of debt contracting, the balances of trusts, and that obviously reveals a major failure of legislative work as a counterweight and as auditor of the State’s executive branch, and there there is a responsibility,» said Alexandra Zapata, IMCO’s Deputy Director.
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Manuel Guadarrama, one of the authors of the study, explained that although the City has made efforts to digitize information about its public finances, it is failing in the previous step, which is to make clear how the money will be spent, so that after monitor whether the objectives are being met.
«We do not have at the beginning the photograph of how they will be spent, or how we plan to spend the public resource of Mexico City at the beginning of the year, and that this serves as a contrast to effectively verify that during the fiscal year it is executed according to that p resoassumption, » he said.
Mexico City’s budget is 234 billion 16 million, of which 80 thousand 823 are public debt, equivalent to 2.7% of its GDP.
Michoacán has also maintained its low levels of transparency, which this year barely reached 46% of IMCO criteria.
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This state did not indicate in its budget of egress the places of officials and teachers that it pays or wages; nor did it comply with any information on how spending is classified. In addition, there was opacity in their public debt data, expenditure on specific items such as the payment of social aid, and information on the distribution of resources between municipalities.
Michoacán’s total budget this year is 70.17 million pesos, and has a debt of 20 billion, 4.8% of GDP.
States conceal information from their public debt
IMCO found that what states hide most in their budgets is what it has to do with public debt, since they do not put the information on what the money obtained from borrowing is to, and at what interest rates or time to pay.
44% of the country, 14 states, do not set caps on government debt procurement. 13 do not break down the fate of the money, nor the type of instrument used (i.e. whether it is a simple credit, a stock issue, etc.), and 10 do not identify by decree the indebtedness was approved or with which key it can be tracked.
The states with the least information regarding debt contracting are Chiapas and Michoacán, followed by Mexico City and the State of Mexico. None of them broke their debt balances, or what they put as collateral or source of payment, or the amount allocated in 2019 to pay that debt and interest.
Nor did they publish the bank with which they contracted debt, interest rates or the terms in which they will pay those loans.
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