No Lithium Concessions / Mexico Has Healthy Public FinancesBy Paloma Duran | Thu, 10/07/2021 - 10:17
AMLO: Universities must return to face-to-face classes. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on public and private universities to return to face-to-face classes, arguing that the majority of the adult population is already vaccinated and there are health protocols to avoid contagions. "It is a respectful call, because we need it. It is toxic to only be subjected to internet systems. Students can read on the internet but the debate in the classrooms is very important."
According to data from the Ministry of Education, around 16 million students have returned to face-to-face classes throughout the country. However, there are still a large number that have not returned for fear of an outbreak of infections, especially as the country is in the third wave of COVID-19. Mexican authorities have repeatedly asked students and teachers to return to classrooms, as the level of education has dropped and more than 5.2 million students at all levels have stopped studying.
No lithium concessions for foreigners. López Obrador said that if his electricity reform is not approved, he will ensure that his government does not grant lithium concessions to private companies. “If it is not approved that the lithium remains in the hands of the nation, we will deny any request for an exploitation concession. We have the power to do so and we are not afraid of going to court to prevent our resources from falling into foreign hands."
Last week, the administration sent to Congress its electricity reform that seeks to strengthen CFE and grant it more than 50 percent of the market share. If passed, the reform would also give the state sole control of the country's lithium reserves. Currently, there are eight lithium concessions already granted, which will remain in force if the holders demonstrate to CFE and the Ministry of Energy that they are already exploring and seeking to start production. The president said that of the eight concessionaires, only one meets the necessary requirements to maintain the concession.
Mexico improves its public finances. López Obrador stressed that the government has healthy public finances, with an increase of 1.5 percent so far in 2021, which guarantees the payment of salaries and bonuses to state workers. “We have no financial problems for ending the year. We do not owe anyone; the federal shares have been handed over to the states and we still have money to pay the salaries and bonuses of all workers in the service of the state.”
According to government data, on Oct. 6, tax collection totaled MX$2.7 billion (US$130 million) in real terms, which is 2.4 percent higher than the same period in 2020 when MX$2.5 billion (US$121 million) was collected. In addition, from January to September, tax revenues collected through income tax grew 0.2 percent. According to the Ministry of Finance, the increase is due to the continued recovery of the Mexican economy and better collection strategies.
Sanction on Videragay is suspended. López Obrador stressed that it will be the judges who will decide if former Minister of Finance and Foreign Relations Luis Videragay remains banned from holding public office. "Surely the case is being attended by the public function. I have no more information, but I do know that like any other person, he has the right to go to court to resolve his situation definitively."
In June, the Ministry of Public Administrations banned Videragay from holding public office for 10 years for not properly disclosing his assets while he was minister of finance and later minister of foreign affairs. Following the announcement of the sanction, Videragay denied the allegations and said he would appeal the decision. Yesterday, it was announced that on Aug. 3, Videragay was able to suspend the disqualification through a judgment of nullity; however, a final resolution of the case is still pending.
Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish