Wednesday, November 29, 2023

AMLO moves to disband transparency watchdog, other autonomous bodies

President López Obrador said Thursday that his government intends to incorporate autonomous organizations such as the national transparency watchdog and the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) into federal ministries and departments.

The president told reporters at his morning press conference that he would meet with his cabinet next Monday to present his plan to disband a range of autonomous bodies in their current form.

He said legal reforms for their incorporation into government ministries and departments – over which he has ultimate control – would subsequently be presented to Congress. The initiative could save the government up to 20 billion pesos (US $1 billion) and that money could be used to purchase Covid-19 vaccines, López Obrador said.

“We’re going to carry out this administrative reform and we’re going to adjust the government to the new reality [and] no longer continue creating these [autonomous] institutions, these bureaucratic apparatuses,” he said.

“Just as they created these [public] trusts and funds willy-nilly” – 109 of which the government abolished late last year – “… autonomous organizations were also created … by executive agreements,” López Obrador said.

“So we have to review all these bodies so that there is no duplication [of responsibilities] because we have to save, be efficient, not have so many apparatuses that eat up the budget.”

The president said that the IFT could be incorporated into the Communications and Transportation Ministry, that the National System for Protection of Children and Adolescents could become part of the DIF family services agency and that the National Institute for Transparency and Access to Information could be absorbed into the Ministry of Public Administration, the Federal Auditor’s Office or the office of the anti-corruption prosecutor.

He said the aim of his proposal was not to dismiss employees of autonomous bodies, saying that they could be reassigned to other roles.

Government critics have long accused the president of attempting to concentrate power in the federal executive and his latest proposal gives them another reason to assert that is the case.

“Institutional destruction and the concentration of power continues!” Claudio X. González, a lawyer, activist and outspoken government critic, tweeted Thursday morning.

“We have to stop this before they kill off the whole institutional framework and the autonomous bodies! Vote to throw them out!”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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