The Mexico President acknowledged this in his second government report on December 1: the move of the 4T Federal Secretaries to decentralize the public administration, as ordered two years ago in 2018, is one of the pending promises for him among his one hundred commitments AMLO made.
However, beyond his order as President, the reality is that the agencies that should move have been postponed, evade, or do not comply with its instruction; despite the fact that the approach was to save resources to the treasury under the precept of republican austerity.
La Silla Rota conducted an investigation in various federal agencies which, via a request for transparency, responded none or partially to the required information. In some cases it was argued that the coronavirus pandemic halted his plans with there is no money; and in others, inexplicably. They claimed not to have the information.
PEMEX TO CAMPECHE? NO INFORMATION
The oil parastatal in charge of Octavio Oropeza has not complied with the presidential order to move to Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche. In a brief answer, he assured that he did not have the corresponding information on the subject.
Pemex turned the request for information to the office of “asset information management” and this area responded that “there are no documents that contain information from January 2019 to date related to the planning of the move of Petróleos Mexicanos. If “it is up to the subsidiary productive companies to organize the move, where appropriate.”
ENERGY IN TABASCO? … YES, BUT NO
The “decentralization” of the Ministry of Energy to Tabasco, was practically only its owner Rocío Nahle who travels constantly between Mexico City and this capital; the rest of its employees are still here in CDMX. That is why the official spends plane tickets in hotels, restaurants (whose average cost ranges from seven thousand pesos) to travel to the construction of the Dos Bocas refinery in Paraíso, Tabasco. But this “temporary move” of its closest personnel does not mean that it will be their permanent residence there, as the agency responded to the request made for transparency.
“The property that the dependency has in the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco was provided in inter-institutional support, for the benefit of the energy sector and social interest, for which some physical spaces owned by Pemex Industrial Transformation and the IMP were accommodated”, referring in the latter to the Mexican Institute of Petroleum. In other words, at this moment it operates in two properties ´loaned´ by Pemex.
For this purpose, in 2019 a move was contracted “for the transfer of computer assets to the property occupied by the energy secretariat in the state of Tabasco with the Tax person Lorena Ávila Cruz … for an amount of $37,145 pesos without VAT
The Maintenance and Infrastructure Directorate also reported in an official letter that today there is no documentation where there is a planning of the move of the Ministry of Energy to the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco. “Consequently, there are no companies contracted to the job, and the date for the move has not been determined … today, the agency has not exercised budgetary resources due to the planning and decentralization of its offices, which it continues to operate in CDMX. “.
On the other hand, the Directorate of Acquisitions, Human Material Resources, and General Services, reported not having knowledge of her move to Villahermosa Tabasco. “This information is not the responsibility of this Secretariat department,” it said.
Meanwhile, the invoices and checks of Nahle’s expenses in his various trips to Tabasco continue to be borne by the treasury, according to invoices consulted by La Silla Rota portal -via transparency, dated 2019- with the signature of the official: Accommodations at the Crowne Hotel Plaza, meals at the seafood restaurant “La Lupita” or the Argentinean cuts.
TOURISM … IN HALF IN QUINTANA ROO.
The Ministry of Tourism, one of the most affected by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, depends on the endorsement of the Ministry of Finance to comply with the presidential order to move its facilities to Quintana Roo.
Two years have passed since the president said that this agency would move from CDMX to Chetumal, in southern Quintana Roo.
To the request for information filed by La Silla Rota, he replied “the Undersecretariat of Planning and Tourism Policy does not have documents related to the decentralization of the Ministry of Tourism, additionally it is reported that it is in the process of investigation, evaluation, and analysis for an orderly transfer which is subject to the budget approval for the SAT “.
The formula to be applied will be the money first. In December 2019, President López Obrador declared that the agency already had offices in that entity; but the general administration direction responded via transparency having already made a visit to the properties proposed to be occupied by the Tourist Secretary. AMLO indicated that they are in negotiation with the spaces offered by the government of Quintana Roo through the form of bailment, that is, that the state government would lend a property to Sectur; but he did not specify on further details.
AMLO added that he has a mapping and planning of the distribution of offices, as well as a projection of costs; but no scheduled to move-in date has been set. Regarding costs for this planning, the General Directorate of Programming and Budgeting reported that no resources have been used, so “there is no data on how much was spent on this planning and how much has been spent on decentralizing the tourist office”.
From Chetumal, the Undersecretary for Tourism Promotion and Operation of Sedetur, Andrés Aguilar told La Silla Rota that the most popular place to carry out this move is the “mega-sculpture”, a space in the Bay of Chetumal whose construction began in 2004 with a investment of 120 million pesos. Planned to be a museum, then a planetarium, then an aquarium, a party room, a restaurant, a viewpoint, a commercial area, everything indicates that it will end up being remodeled to become a government office to which, he said, only some undersecretaries will move.
THE ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY TO YUCATÁN? ARRESTED FOR PANDEMIC …
Two years after receiving the order to move as soon as possible, not only the pandemic seems to get in the way but also the will of officeholders.
Since the beginning of AMLO administration, three officials have been in charge of the agency: Josefa González, Víctor Manuel Toledo Manzur, and María Luisa Albores. None have been seen in Yucatan. And the secrecy about the move is such that, in the state office, the press area does not answer any questions.
Forced by a request for transparency, the Administration and Finance unit of this agency responded “an exercise has been carried out to identify the best alternative and the most suitable, financial and viable venues” for their relocation in Mérida, Yucatán. And it adds that decentralization has been temporarily halted as a result of the health emergency, the federal austerity law, and official letter 100-54 issued by the Secretary of the Treasury.
Regarding the search for the property, the information on the official page of Indaabin (Institute of Administration and Appraisals of National Assets) estates as follows: “In its capacity as administrator of the federal real estate patrimony, without that to date a building has been observed that could be feasible to use since the limited availability of economic resources to invest in construction or leasing, prevents this agency from taking another alternative “.
However, in another official letter dated March 30, 2020 (days before the pandemic), Semarnat stated another argument such as economic circumstances; “Given that the budget cuts in which the sector has been affected reduce the margin of possibilities.”
Various administrative areas would participate in the decentralization process: the general direction of Human Development and Organization, the general direction of Programming and Budget, the general direction of Material Resources, and the General Direction of Informatics and Telecommunications.
While this is happening, the state office of Semarnat shares space -since March- with the state office of Conagua, in a complex of buildings located to the west of the city of Mérida, in the Fraccionamiento Yucalpetén.
The move to Nuevo Laredo of the General Directorate of Customs of the Ministry of Finance also remains on hold. Of the almost 800 customs agencies registered in the country, half are located in Nuevo Laredo; hence the presidential order to move the General Directorate of Customs there.
For customs agents, it has become customary to travel frequently to CDMX to carry out procedures related to their work, which represents expenses. Members of the Association of Customs Agents told La Silla Rota that due to the coronavirus pandemic the procedures for imports and exports of merchandise became slower because there are not enough personnel in the General Directorate of Customs.
EDUCATION TO PUEBLA
Ciudad Modelo or the municipality of Huejotzingo sounds like the most viable options to take the SEP there, although none has materialized. The promise of its former head, Esteban Moctezuma -just appointed as the new Mexican ambassador to the US-, remained in that: a promise. “As I promised, “I am in Puebla today, December 2, 2018, starting the study and program of the gradual, planned, and orderly decentralization of SEP. It is a priority to listen to the people of Puebla and respect all labor rights. It will be a voluntary program as @lopezobrador_ pointed out.”
That day he met with Alfonso Esparza Ortiz, Director of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and the municipal president Claudia Rivera Vivanco, to begin to define a plan. He announced that it would be delivered in a period of eight months to the Ministry of Finance. “I was lucky that the president chose Puebla; it is a stately city, beautiful, which is really dangerous and tempting is the food. I hope I do not gain much weight,” he celebrated.
Nine months later, in August 2019, Melitón Lozano (head of the Puebla state SEP) declared that the decentralization would take place until 2020, since the first stage was not yet ready, which included planning processes for the transfer and infrastructure to housing to all workers of the federal agency. And according to him, Moctezuma said that decentralization was being delayed because planning and resources have to be generated, and since there are many workers willing to move to Puebla, a great infrastructure was required.
In November 2019, Governor Barbosa affirmed that “We ate and talked about decentralization, there is no date for the arrival of the SEP to Puebla. Everything is underway, I gave him (AMLO) two proposals: some land in Huejotzingo and Ciudad Modelo; and we discarded both”.
To date, nothing has happened. Ciudad Modelo (an ambitious urbanization project by former Governor Moreno Valle, to create 5 thousand 29 homes) remains stagnant. It barely has 597 apartments, of which 202 have been sold and only 96 are occupied by 310 inhabitants; its streets and parks are deserted, the bus station does not work and its buildings look decaying.