Business magnate Carlos Slim endorsed on Tuesday the economic performance of President López Obrador and his government, claiming that the foundations have been laid for greater investment and growth.
Speaking to reporters after the presentation of the National Infrastructure Plan (PNI), the Grupo Carso chairman acknowledged that the economy has stagnated this year but asserted that it doesn’t matter because “we already knew that there wasn’t going to be growth.”
The government’s management of public finances has “laid the groundwork” for a better economic performance in subsequent years, Slim said.
“Debt didn’t go up, there’s no fiscal deficit and inflation came down,” he said.
“. . . That has created confidence for financial investment” as demonstrated by the private sector’s commitment to fund the majority of the US $42.95-billion PNI, Slim said.
“This investment is a trigger for greater investment, more development, more employment, more income . . . Salaries are improving, the minimum wage will go up in real terms and that increase is the product of lower inflation,” he added.
Asked to give an overall assessment of López Obrador’s economic performance during his first year in office, Mexico’s richest man responded:
“It’s positive. Inflation went down from 4.8% to 3%, that’s very important. Secondly, this government has already given clear indications that its strategy is to maintain healthy public finances during its entire six-year term . . . Having this low inflation also allows low interest rates, that helps the funding of [infrastructure] projects. The most important thing is that this year is finishing with this great agreement with the business sector . . . so that there is large investment, so that the economy starts up and there is economic growth.”
Business Coordinating Council president Carlos Salazar also expressed optimism that the joint public-private infrastructure plan will stimulate growth, adding that data showing that Mexico entered a light recession in the first half of the year is not important.
“If [the economy] slows down a little, that doesn’t change the lives of Mexicans, the important thing is what’s to come. We have all the foundations to achieve this very ambitious investment announcement [the PNI] . . . We’ve seen that there is financing capacity, everything is aligned . . .”