Several large business groups have criticized the federal government’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic but President López Obrador claimed on Tuesday that there is no rupture between his administration and the private sector and that the majority of the business community support the plan.
Speaking at his regular news conference, López Obrador asserted that “practically all” business people support his government and are willing to collaborate with it.
“Yesterday I met with some business people and we had a conversation, a teleconference because some of them are complying with the recommendations to look after themselves because … they’re older people. But they’re aware [of the economic plan] and expressed their support for the government. They made that clear in the conversation we had,” he said.
López Obrador said that among those who expressed their support were Grupo Carso chairman Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest person, mining and department store magnate Alberto Baillères and Germán Larrea, president of mining and railway company Grupo México.
“I explained the plan that we are carrying out and they agreed with it. I’m saying this so that there is no fake news, so that things aren’t distorted,” he said.
The president’s remarks came after private sector groups including the Business Coordinating Council and the Mexican Employers Federation criticized the plan he presented on Sunday, charging that it doesn’t do enough to support businesses amid the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.
However, López Obrador said that the business people he spoke with have shown their support for the government by following the directive not to dismiss employees and to continue to pay them their full salaries even though they might not be working due to the closure of non-essential businesses.
He added that the business people told him that they would pay their suppliers as quickly as possible and even make advance payments to support them through the tough economic times.
“I thanked them. … They’re willing to help in any way the government asks them to,” López Obrador said.
Asked by a reporter if there was a rupture between the government and the private sector, the president responded:
“No, quite the contrary; they’re acting very responsibly.”
He acknowledged that some business people are pushing for tax privileges and other concessions but reiterated that his government won’t act in the same way as past “neoliberal” and corrupt administrations.
“That’s been left behind now, relegated to … the dustbin of history,” López Obrador said.
He said that his plan will allow the economy to recover quickly once the coronavirus crisis passes, asserting that the government is taking steps so that there is an immediate “economic spillover” in the country.
Source: El Universal (sp)