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De Hoyos: process in limbo. De Hoyos: process in limbo.

Anti-corruption plan sees little progress

Business group laments that most states are behind in system's implementation

With less than two months remaining until the National Anti-Corruption System (SNA) is due to be implemented at state and municipal levels, it remains in limbo because of low confidence in government, a shortage of resources and a lack of understanding of the new legislation.

At a business forum on anti-corruption organized by Coparmex, the Mexican Employers’ Federation, national president Gustavo de Hoyos indicated that most states have made little progress towards the implementation of the strategy.

While de Hoyos pointed out that some, including Baja California Sur, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Sinaloa and Puebla, have made important steps, the fact that the majority have not is worrying as their involvement is a key component in the overall scheme.

“[A] substantial part of fighting corruption is within the scope of states and municipalities, where there are large discretionary margins in the management of public resources because of a lack of checks, balances and accountability.”

The association, which has been critical of delays in the process to get the system up and running before, expressed disappointment that politicians “ignore a sense of urgency from citizens and indefinitely lengthen discussions to avoid making uncomfortable decisions that yield no political benefit.”

Two state governors who also attended the Mexico City forum agreed that regaining the confidence of citizens and enforcing the law were two challenges faced by authorities.

Baja California Sur Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis indicated that in order to implement the reform more resources need to be invested while his Querétaro counterpart, Francisco Domínguez, added that states must ensure that they comply with the SNA mandate, and that requires civic participation.

Other specialists at the forum argued that political will, citizen empowerment and transparency of the process to appoint key figures in the SNA would help governments to regain their credibility in the fight against corruption.

Valeriano Suárez, a Coparmex vice-president, called for SNA discussions to take place in an open parliament in which civil society can participate and oversee the selection and naming of appointees.

The association also called on the federal senate to open the ratification process for naming special corruption-fighting judges to “scrutiny and social participation.”

Coparmex said it stood ready to support the implementation of the anti-corruption system through its transparency monitoring mechanism, by offering workshops to government and by creating a hotline to report acts of corruption.

Source: CNN Expansión (sp), Zeta Tijuana (sp)

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