Our reform programme will build a better future for Mexico

By Enrique Peña Nieto

Our goal is to play a more active role in the global economy, writes Enrique Peña Nieto

Mexico’s reform agenda is now complete. Eleven structural reforms were passed by congress over the past 20 months.

This drive came about through collaboration with political parties, resulting in the Pact for Mexico, an unprecedented accord that allowed us to propose concise solutions to key national issues.

Six reforms intertwine in a single goal: to increase Mexico’s productivity and competitiveness.

Today we are the world’s 10th-largest oil producer and our recoverable shale gas resources rank sixth. The energy reform will allow us to take advantage of our natural resources in a sustainable way, while observing basic principles of sovereignty. This reform will ensure the energy sector again becomes an engine for economic growth, by guaranteeing the supply of oil, gas and electricity at competitive prices.

It creates opportunities for private companies to invest, and improve and expand the sector’s infrastructure. This will increase oil production from the current 2.5m barrels a day to 3m by 2018. Likewise, natural gas production will grow from 5.7bn cubic feet a day to 8bn by 2018. Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) will be more competitive and will have the autonomy needed to operate as a modern company, as well as the opportunity to forge alliances and reduce operating costs. The reform will promote investment in renewable energies, an area where Mexico has immense potential. It is expected that with this reform, Mexico’s gross domestic product will increase by 1 per cent by 2018 and 2 per cent by 2025.

The economic competition reform regulates the relationship between companies, ensuring a greater variety of products and services at better prices. Similarly, the telecoms reform encourages competition. It creates two new television networks, sets the conditions to reduce the national digital gap and guarantees our full integration into the knowledge society. It will offer connectivity in 250,000 public places and provide broadband internet access to at least 70 per cent of all households, and 85 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses by 2018.

We are shifting from a regressive to a progressive taxation system, in order to reduce the income gap

We enacted the financial reform for banks to increase lending at lower interest rates, allowing higher productivity. At the same time, we will reduce the size of the informal economy, foster investment and improve the efficiency and transparency of spending.

Mexico has the lowest tax take among OECD members. The fiscal reform aims to increase tax revenue by an additional 2.5 per cent of GDP by the end of my administration. We are shifting from a regressive to a progressive taxation system, to reduce the income gap. Additionally, we will eliminate loopholes and offer incentives to informal workers so they can migrate to the formal economy or start a business.

Likewise, labour reform has added flexibility to the job market, stimulating the formal economy and improving conditions for the professional development of women and the young.

All these reforms will create more jobs and increase the purchasing power of our people, strengthen the domestic market and enhance economic growth. They will generate more confidence in our country’s stability and consolidate its position among the world’s most attractive markets for foreign investment.

We also undertook changes to enhance the fundamental rights of the Mexican people. First, an education reform, aimed at improving the quality of education, implementing a new professional teaching service, updating the curricula and modernising school infrastructure. Second, new criminal procedures and legal protection laws to improve the justice system; third, a transparency reform to promote open government; and finally, political and electoral reform to consolidate our democratic regime and encourage citizens to be involved in political processes. These amendments will endow our country with a legal framework that allows us to seize our economic potential in a democratic environment.

In the coming months we will implement the policies to bring these reforms into action. Our goal is to make Mexico more open, productive and competitive, with sound public finances and skilled human resources; so we can play a more active role in the global economy and provide our people with a better quality of life. Together we are building a new Mexico.

The writer is president of Mexico