A tale of two development plans

MEXICO - Report 13 May 2019 by Mauricio Gonzalez and Francisco González

Early in its life, each presidency is required to produce a National Development Plan (NDP) to implement during its six years in office. But the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador did something quite different: his government just sent Congress two NDPs, one authored by his finance ministry and one of his own creation that appears to have been stitched together from his own past speeches and musings. Each document has an entirely different language and structure, and their contents do not necessarily coincide or even complement one another, but they are being passed off as a unitary package.

According to reports, this anomaly resulted from the president's being so disappointed by the plan of his cabinet ministry that he quickly devised one of his own that bears little resemblance to anything that could be regarded as a development plan. In fact, the text centers on his critique of past policies, lacks any structure, is devoid of any assessment of the problems to be addressed or objectives, and presents specific strategies and/or actions indistinctly in some sections and avoids doing the same in others.

But apparently realizing that the ministry’s document is the only one that meets the minimum content to accomplish the legal requirements for a planning document, he opted to bundle them together, with his document being presented as some sort of general, very long prologue.

Despite all its other faults, the finance ministry’s plan can generally be regarded as offering a unifying vision with a coherent and balanced structure when it comes to prioritization. It is permeated with an ideology that adheres closely to United Nations principles, and it was obviously drafted by people whom the president would undoubtedly deride as “technocrats,” with the evidence of such an approach most eloquent in the specific indicators they chose.

What is most concerning is the evident contempt in which the president holds this plan, and his conclusion that there was an overriding need to cobble together and promote an alternative plan as if it was the only one the administration was truly putting forward. One is left with the impression that the finance ministry’s NDP was issued simply to fulfill a statutory requirement, and that the president has no intention of taking it seriously, much less implementing it.

Now read on...

Register to sample a report