Mexico’s Obrador Says 2021 Budget Includes Refinery

(Reuters, 2.Sep.2020) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday the 2021 budget would call for spending on priority infrastructure, including refineries and oil production, and would not raise taxes.

The Finance Ministry is due to present the budget next Tuesday, with the government facing scrutiny over an economy that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gross domestic product could shrink almost 13% this year, the central bank has warned.

Asked during his daily news conference if the new budget would include a plan to reactivate the economy based on infrastructure projects, he listed a variety of works slated for public spending, including refineries, oil production and electric power.

Financing will also be allocated for highways and roads, the completion of a new international airport for Mexico City, and construction on the “Mayan Train” tourist railway on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The projects will include the private sector, “but without putting the country into debt,” the president said.

Lopez Obrador said he did not agree with a proposal by lawmakers from his own Morena party to increase taxes on products such as junk food.

“You can’t traffic in the health of the people,” he said, adding he preferred government campaigns promoting nutrition and exercise.

Lopez Obrador has said previously there will be no tax increases before 2021.

Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera, in a television interview on Wednesday, backed up the president’s vow not to increase taxes.

“Today, companies have little money, families have little money. It’s not the moment to think of that,” Herrera said.

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