Over 12 billion pesos have left the Mexican treasury for the payment of “voluntary contributions” to international organisms such as the UN and the WHO, amongst others. At the midst of the administration the tap was closed.
The payment of quotas to international organisms has been suspended in the Federal Expenditure Budget (PEF) 2016. Nevertheless between 2013 and 2015, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto disbursed over 12 billion 500 million pesos in contributions to several institutions, among them is the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, among others, labeled as “contributions” or “quotas” and trade agreements.
The PEF of each year of the current PRI administration shows that five Mexican entities that have contributed to the economy of the multilateral organizations most were: the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs (SRE) with 4 billion 947 million 793 thousand 562 pesos; the Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) with 2 billion 600 million 698 thousand 972 pesos; the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) with 1 billion 156 million 352 thousand 971 pesos; the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) with 869 billion 560 million 849 pesos and the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (Sagarpa) with 851 million 400 thousand and 2 pesos.
The analysis of the public documents shows that 2015 was the year where most resources were budgeted for the payment of “quotas and contributions”, with 4 billion 568 million 990 thousand and 34 pesos labeled in the expenses of public resources under the consignment 4900 and the concept “transfers ”, tagged as “current expenditures”.
This consignment has been audited only on three occasions by the Superior Audit of the Federation, since the creation of this entity on the public account in 2011, 2008 and 2006; the ruling, then issued by the team of the auditor Arturo González de Aragón pointed out over the opacity and the irregularities of these financial movements of Mexico overseas.
Compromising millionaire assignments
The billions of pesos budgeted for the payment of the quotas with international were considered to be suspended as a consequence of the economic crisis that is going through the country; in the PEF 2016 there is not a single peso assigned to these operations, according to what can be observed in the document issued by the site of Budget Transparency, an expenditure observer of the SHCP.
The over 4 billion pesos that were assigned by the SRE during the last 3 years derived from the assignment of 1 billion 387 million pesos en 2013, 1 billion 637 million pesos in 2014 and, the highest budget, in 2015 with 1 billion 923 million 793 thousand 562 pesos.
In the methodology of the Secretariat in charge of the foreign affairs it says: “The quotas to international organisms will be paid in the currency established in the treaty, convention or international agreement, diplomatic note and/or the justification and authorization format to implement voluntary contributions to international organisms subscribed by the Mexican government” (sic).
For each international organism there will be a file that will contain all the documentation produced by the payment of quotas and the format “Quota control towards international organisms”, that registers the amount of the quota, the payments realized and the corresponding balance”.
The 2 billion 600 million 698 thousand 972 pesos assigned by the SHCP, in charge of Luis Videgaray Caso, were disbursed the following way: 865 million 500 thousand pesos in 2013; and in 2014 and 2015 for the identical quota of 867 million 599 thousand 486 pesos annually.
The SEP, led by Aurelio Nuño Mayer since August 2015 was the third entity with the most resources destined for the quotas. During the administration of the predecessor, Emilio Chuayffet Chemor, over 1 billion 150 million pesos were spent: 360 million 731 thousand 405 pesos in 2013; 357 thousand 533 million 248 pesos in 2014, and 438 million 88 thousand 318 pesos in 2015.
Quotas versus the fight against poverty
When doing the analysis of the assigned budget to the programs to fight poverty in Mexico it can be observed that the 12 billion 500 million pesos assigned during the first three-year-period of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto could have been provided in the programmed expenditure of programs related to the fight against poverty in the country.
The 4 billion 947 million 793 thousand 562 pesos of the SRE represent almost the expenditures of a fiscal year corresponding to the area of Support for Working Mothers in the Caretaking of their Children of the Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol), with a budget of 5 billion 7 million 795 thousand 872 pesos. Also of the same Sedesol the payment of quotas exceeds by 1 billion 797 million 573 thousand 62 pesos, compared with the Program of Community Kitchens with a budget of 3 billion 150 million 220 thousand 500 pesos annually.
The SEP has budgeted 1 billion 156 352 thousand 971 pesos assigned to the payment of quotas to international organisms of 707 billion 539 million 635 pesos lesser than the budget assigned for the education in one of the poorest states of the country, Guerrero, that this year assigned 1 billion 863 million 892 thousand 606 pesos.
The Sedesol then under the leadership of Rosario Robles Berlanga assigned to this payment 6 billion 396 million 314 thousand pesos to the contribution of quotas. This budget exceeds in billion pesos the budget of the poorest municipality of the country, Cochoapa, El Grande in Guerrero that in 2016 accounted barely on 10 million pesos.
Irregularities detected by the ASF
The occasions on which the highest auditing organism of the country revised the area of quotas with international organisms, the Superior Audit of the Federation found negative results for the former administrations of the PAN-Affiliated Felipe Calderòn Hinojosa and Vicente Fox Quesada.
This is what happened in the observations of 2011, like in 2008 and 2016, in the entities scrutinized, SEP and Sagarpa. One example of it is that in the last financial audit performed, irregularities were found in the management of 1 billion 355 million 800 pesos: “it corresponds to the lack of verification that could proof the contribution to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)” (Contralinea, Issue No. 117).
About the SEP the audit had pointed out its opacity with which the money is being managed in this area, as except of the National Council for Culture and Art (Conaculta) “the administrative units of the SEP and its decentralized organisms do not rely on guidelines, procedures or internal norms that regulate the celebration and authorization of treaties and inter-institutional agreements with international organisms, which impedes to know the areas in which they interact in the management before the Presidency of Mexico, the Senator’s Chamber and the SRE, their responsibilities and activities…” within the Public Account 2008
Concerning the auditing of the resources in 2006, the ASF determined that the SRE did not have the necessary control mechanism for the management of the treasury in the consignment 3826, corresponding to “quotas and contributions to international organisms” (Contralínea, 102).
The public finance in ruins
The damage that the Mexican economy has endured has driven to a budgetary limitation of some areas (without being necessarily the urgent ones, enough can be said about the high salaries of some public servants).
Such is the case of this payment of quotas that according to the Center for Public Finance Studies, 62 programs were eliminated in the administrative branch and the entities of direct control; of which 13 accounted on budgetary assignment in the PEF 2015 for a total amount of 14 billion 991 million pesos in August 2015.
The following programs stand out: R023 “Provisions for the Development of Passenger Trains” with 6 billion 508.7 million pesos (Branch 9, “Communications and Transport”); R070 “Culture Program of the Federal Entities” with 2 billion 111.6 million pesos (Branch 11 “Public Education”); R099 “Quotas, Support and Contributions to International Organisms” with 4 billion 568 million pesos.
In the framework of this elimination program, the Headquarters of the Deputy’s Chamber argued that “the fusion of programs derived of the reengineering of expenditures could lead to opacity and generate obstacles to evaluate if every one of the programs meets with the objectives, as well as the own National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policies (Coneval) has pointed out in the past that there are limitations to assess the programs as it often happens that they focus to more than one target population. Thus it is necessary to highlight from now on the importance of complementing this programmatic simplification with indicators of adequate performance that would allow the measurement of the benefits and the fulfillment of these objectives of the new programs.”
Contralinea requested an interview with María Elisa Banda Pérez, Director of specialized international organisms of the SRE. Until the closing of edition there has been no response.
(Translated by: Axel Plasa)
Contralínea 473 / del 01 al 07 de Febrero de 2016