ASF Demands Clarity in Mayan Train FinancesThu, 02/25/2021 - 17:40
The Superior Auditor of the Federation (ASF) included the Mayan Train in its analysis of government budgeting practices submitted over the weekend. Milenio reports that ASF found a number of irregularities in the project’s financial schemes and requested additional information from FONATUR. The analysis found that US$6.4 million in funds remains to be accounted for in the Mayan Train project’s financial paperwork, which led ASF to declare that FONATUR “had not followed proper legal procedure in this instance.” ASF also found in its analysis of the project instances of unjustified procurement of certain contracts, duplicated payments for executive project leaders and a lack of clarity regarding internal administration, accounting and bookkeeping protocols.
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Mayan Train Suspended in Yucatan
A judge from Yucatan has granted a provisional suspension for all Mayan Train construction in that state, which corresponds to the train’s third segment, in response to three separate lawsuits made by indigenous civil associations. The lawsuits were set forth by the Múuch’ Xíinbal Assembly for the Defense of Mayan Territory and the Chuun t’aan Maya Collective. These lawsuits target SEMARNAT’s approval of FONATUR’S Environmental Impact Report for the Mayan Train, claiming that the project’s approval was unconstitutional. The core of their legal argument is that none of these studies or their methodologies were ever made available to local indigenous communities, which violates their right to information. While the suspension is provisional, it could become definitive if the claims in these lawsuits are determined to have full constitutional validity.
Mexico City to Experience Interruptions in Water Service
CONAGUA announced that the Mexico City metropolitan area will see interruptions in its water supply throughout the month of March to account for drought conditions in major basins. CONAGUAS´s Valley of Mexico Water Basins Director Víctor Bourguett went over the condition of the system that led to the scheduling of these interruptions: 25 percent of the basins and dams that feed the Cutzamala system currently report conditions of extreme drought, while the remaining 75 percent report conditions of moderate drought. Rainfall so far in 2021 has presented a deficit of 21.2 percent. The system is also operating at 55.3 percent of its capacity, which is 21.7 percent less than its historical average of 77 percent. 2009 was the last year that the system reported these conditions.
ASF Corrects NAIM Data
ASF corrected the data it provided earlier in the week regarding the cancellation costs of NAIM. On Monday, the government institution published that the final cost would be US$6.8 billion, 232 percent more than what was expected in April 2019. However, the institution later announced “methodological inconsistencies” in its report. “We recognized there are inconsistencies in the quantification made in the audit, so its content is undergoing a thorough review to determine the cost of NAIM’s cancellation. At the moment, it has already been detected that the amount is lower than initially estimated,” said a spokesperson for ASF. This correction comes a day after President López Obrador criticized the report, saying the data was an “exaggeration.” “I would like them to explain that number. It is wrong and it is an exaggeration,” he said.
Infrastructure Private Investment Needed: Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim met with Argentine President Alberto Fernández and stated the importance of promoting private investment in infrastructure, as this can lead to more jobs that often expand to different sectors including construction and housing. Slim said there is a lack of private investment in infrastructure, which prevents Mexico’s further development. He also expressed his disappointment with the private sector for not supporting an increase in the minimum wage. Slim also pointed out how in 2020, Mexico’s economic performance turned out to be better than anticipated. The investment to meet consumer demands and the support given by the banks to businesses helped reduce economic losses.