December 3rd, 2021
1. President Delivers Third Government Report
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador delivered a message from Mexico City’s Zócalo on his three years in government after a year-long dearth of public activities driven the Covid-19 pandemic. The President listed his successes regarding social programs, increased investment in the last year, low levels of insecurity, and a 2022 energy sovereignty plan.
However, some stakeholders have questioned the lack of government transparency in social and infrastructure projects, militarization of key sectors such as health care, and a constitutional reform energy initiative that would alter investments and basic service prices in the country.
2. National economy will face wage increase
The Bank of Mexico (Banxico) revised its growth forecast down for 2021 from 6.2% to 5.4% according to the Quarterly Report for the third quarter of the year. It evaluated the effects of lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) third quarter expectations driven by a worsening pandemic and outsourcing reform.
The labor-management sectors and federal government agreed to augment the minimum wage by 22%, an increase from MXN 141.70 pesos to MXN 172.87 pesos per day. The General Minimum Wage will be MXN 260.34 pesos per day by 2022 along the northern border’s Free Zone. The increase in the two minimum wage zones was calculated as a 9% increase above inflation, plus an Independent Recovery Amount (MIR).
El Economista: Banxico recorta a 5.4% su pronóstico para el PIB de México por escasez de insumos, inflación y la pandemia.
El Universal: Gobierno, patrones y obreros acuerdan un incremento a los salarios mínimos de 22%: CCE.
3. Military presence in health sector increases
Drug distribution is still pending despite the United Nations Office for Project Services’ (UNOPS) intervention. As of December 1, the call for international public bidding for the purchase of 361 generic drugs and 273 pieces of medical equipment will be opened to supply 387 million items to Mexico’s public health network in 2022.
It was announced this week that medical distribution will be overseen by the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), which will be coordinated by General Jens Pedro Lohmann Iturburu as the new general director of Laboratorios de Biológicos y Reactivos de México. (Birmex). This announcement implies more powers will be granted to SEDENA beyond medical delivery.
4. Changes in Banco de México in 2022
The Senate of the Republic approved the appointment of the teacher Victoria Rodríguez Ceja as a member of the Governing Board of the Banco de México (Banxico) as of January 1, 2022. With 78 votes in favor, 21 against, and 10 abstentions, the senators endorsed her to become one of the five members of the collegiate body. After the vote, Rodríguez Ceja went to the legislature to protest.
The President appointed Juan Pablo de Botton as the new Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit’s (SHCP) Undersecretary of Expenditures (Ms. Rodriguez’s previous position). A former teacher, Juan Pablo de Botton served as head of the Foreign Trade Bank (Bancomext) and Nacional Financiera (Nafin) since March 2021.
5. Mexico and the European Union strengthen cooperation
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the Latin America, Caribbean, and European Union Summit (LAC-EU) with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. They discussed the promotion of a digital humanitarian agenda and combating inequality.
The President of Mexico called on countries to comply with vaccine supply commitments to the United Nations (UN) and to promote the authorization of effective vaccines to the World Health Organization (WHO). Finally, the President invited those present to sign the World Welfare and Fraternity Plan to eradicate poverty, which he presented at the United Nations Security Council.