Sergio Ramírez
Director General
Acciona Infraestructuras México
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View from the Top

Public, Private Investment Necessary to Boost Development

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 16:49

Q: What are the main challenges construction companies are facing to develop the country’s most pressing projects and what is Acciona’s role?
A: There needs to be clarity in the regulatory framework so both public and private investment continues. Topics such as right of way need to be addressed so that investment continues to flow into the sector and country as a whole. Projects must be thoroughly valued in terms of both cost and impact. The cheapest option is not necessarily the best choice. Security is another issue that must be addressed. Construction companies must be able to guarantee the safety of their workers throughout the country.
Acciona is present in over 40 countries and we have been operating in Mexico since 1978. We have become a Mexican company building the country’s most important infrastructure and we will continue investing in the nation’s development in the years to come. We have expertise in the delivery of all kinds of infrastructure and we have developed our engineering skills greatly through various transport, water and social infrastructure projects.
Q: How has the country advanced in terms of infrastructure development?
A: Mexico’s infrastructure industry has experienced a transcendent change thanks to the collaboration of the public and private sectors in the delivery of large public works. This has allowed for greater infrastructure development. Many of the roadways developed and the concessions offered in the last few years have not only given work to the construction sector but unified the country. Public private partnerships (PPP) have boosted development greatly but there is still a great amount to do in terms of airports, ports, rail and roads to interconnect the country even more. Railroads should be given priority and they are needed not only to transport people but also cargo and boost the country’s logistics.
Peña Nieto’s administration passed various important structural reforms including for telecommunications, public works, energy and education. We need to work together to identify proposals and present them to the government. There are many necessary projects that need to be built and now the private sector can promote their development on the local, state and federal levels. If there is a clear balance between public and private investment in infrastructure, the government will be able to allocate more money to social projects that the country desperately needs and more financially-viable projects can be concessioned to the private sector.           
Q: How important is the integration of more PPPs and USPs in the Mexican infrastructure industry?
A: The country has a large infrastructure gap and the government does not have the funds to bridge it by itself. There needs to be a close coordination between the public and private sectors to identify the projects that can be developed through PPPs. We must figure out how to transform PPPs into a business incubator.  
As for USPs, although companies get their investment back if they do not win the tender, few companies want to invest the amount of time and labor that goes into a proposal. If the public and private sectors can work together on a list of infrastructure priorities, and then develop these through PPPs, USPs and other schemes, this would create jobs and deliver much needed progress.
Q: What role does NAIM play in the future development of the country and how is Acciona participating in it?
A: Construction of Mexico City’s new international airport is already underway and it is creating thousands of jobs. Funding has been raised and is specifically tied to the project, which is vital to the future of the country. Acciona is part of the consortium that is building the terminal. Over 120,000 tons of steel are being used in this structure alone. The manufacture of the steel, its transport and installation has given work to more than 5,000 Mexicans.