Mexican president defends move to expedite public works

U.S. President Biden hosts leaders of Canada and Mexico at White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is welcomed by U.S. President Joe Biden (not pictured) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. November 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

November 23, 2021

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A new Mexican government measure to expedite infrastructure projects aims to streamline bureaucracy, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday amid criticism that the step would undermine the public tender process.

Infrastructure projects of “public interest and national security” can be authorized by the federal government, according to guidelines published Monday in the official gazette.

Provisional authorization will be issued within five days of when applications for a project are submitted in order to “guarantee their timely execution,” it states.

Under the measure, federal agencies can grant such authorizations and licenses for telecommunications, tourism, railways, ports, airports and other infrastructure projects that are considered “priority or strategic for national development.”

Critics contend the new guidelines would make spending on public works less transparent.

Lopez Obrador defended the measure, saying it would facilitate internal cooperation, and declared that the federal government was guided by justice and honesty.

“This has nothing to do with transparency. The ministries, we’re all held accountable,” he told a regular news conference.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Raul Cortes; Editing by Mark Porter)