Municipal debt in Mexico has more than tripled over the past 10 years, according to a federal government report, and eight municipalities are in arrears for more than a billion pesos each.
The total public debt across all of the country’s municipalities reached 51.67 billion pesos (US $2.6 billion) at the end of the third quarter of 2017, 3.5 times more than the 14.55 billion pesos (US $747 million) owed at the end of the same period in 2007.
Some of Mexico’s biggest and best-known cities are among the worst offenders.
Heading the list is the northern border city of Tijuana, Baja California, which had a debt of almost 2.7 billion pesos (US $137.7 million).
Next is the nation’s second largest city, Guadalajara, Jalisco, which owed close to 2.2 billion pesos.
In third place is the commercial and industrial powerhouse of Monterrey, Nuevo León, which was indebted to the tune of 1.97 billion pesos.
The other five municipalities that owed more than a billion pesos each are Sonora’s state capital, Hermosillo (1.8 billion), Guanajuato’s largest city, León (almost 1.3 billion), Quintana Roo tourism hub Benito Juárez-Cancún (almost 1.2 billion), Mexicali, Baja California (1.06 billion) and Zapopan, Jalisco (1.03 billion).
An analysis carried out by the Chamber of Deputies Public Finances Study Center identified the indebted municipalities.
Its report, “Financial Obligations of the Municipalities of Mexico at the Third Quarter of 2017,” also determined which municipalities have the largest debts on a per-capita basis.
It found that 14 local government areas had debts which exceeded 1,000 pesos (US $51) per person.
The Quintana Roo municipality of Solidaridad — whose municipal seat is Playa del Carmen — had the largest debt in Mexico according to its population, owing 3,284 pesos (US $168) per person.
Nogales, Sonora (2,316 pesos per capita), Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas (2,060 pesos), Hermosillo, Sonora (2,054 pesos) and Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León (1,933 pesos) followed.
The report said that at the end of the third quarter of last year, 707 municipalities across Mexico reported debts to the Finance Secretariat as required by law.
According to that figure, 29% of Mexico’s 2,446 municipalities were carrying some level of debt at the end of September 2017.
Source: Milenio (sp)