#InvitedColumn |  The "new Fonden" was born between stupidity and deafness

#InvitedColumn | The “new Fonden” was born between stupidity and deafness

In addition, we proposed that the budget expenditure of the Fonden be specially monitored in the quarterly reports of the Ministry of Finance. It should be remembered that in the second quarter of 2021 complete information was not provided on the destination of the expenditure of resources in reconstruction of natural disasters. For the third quarter of this year, the infrastructure sector to which the resources were directed was included, but the specific actions in reconstruction were not reported, as was done previously. Even if the transparency of the past was ‘recovered’, an annex would still be missing describing the other spending actions dedicated to the immediate attention of natural disasters, something that did not exist before the disappearance of the Fonden nor does it exist now. Only the wall heard us.

Finally, the general clamor from municipalities, states, and civil society regarding the definition of adequate operating rules (ROP) for the Fonden budget program has been ignored. The decree of extinction of the Fonden was finalized in November 2020, but it was not until mid-August 2021 that some guidelines of the Program for the Attention of Emergencies due to Natural Threats were published, which do not replace the operating rules of the Fonden: The operating guidelines have a smaller regulatory scope than the ROP, since they lack transparency tools, among other aspects.

The lack of operating rules will leave to the discretion of the Ministry of Finance, that is, the president, decisions on who receives, that receives, how many and when receives it. It is an open door for resources to be delivered in a clientelistic manner (opposition governments are at a disadvantage). And it will never be stressed enough: the deficiency in the attention of natural disasters can mean the permanent impoverishment of the population due to the loss of their heritage. Finally, it is not ruled out that this vulnerability and lack of certainty could harm investment decisions by private initiative in a region.

To date, the Government has shown a short-term perspective by dismissing the prevention schemes against natural disasters that Fonden had, and that had made Mexico stand out at the international level. What was there was not perfect, but it was functional. Blindness has been pernicious, but the most serious thing has been deafness in the face of the different voices that have called to guarantee the operation of a strong program, which really replaces the existing scheme.

Editor’s Notes: the author She is the coordinator of the Mexico Evalúa Public Expenditure program.

The opinions in this article are the sole responsibility of the author.

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