The international trade and investment agency ProMéxico, much reviled and then ordered shut down by the new federal government, was generous with its salaries.
Under the previous government, the promotional agency ProMéxico paid salaries as high as US $21,000 a month to its employees, freedom of information requests reveal.
A report published today in the newspaper Milenio said that a high-ranking official in Washington D.C. earned that amount while two others in London, England, and Switzerland were paid more than 19,000 euros (US $21,200 at today’s exchange rate).
Other generous salaries included 17,000 euros a month for a first secretary posted to Qatar, 200,000 pesos (US $10,500) for a manager of an overseas office, 130,000 pesos for a private secretary and 50,000 pesos for a chauffeur.
Personnel posted to 46 ProMéxico offices in 30 countries in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania also received generous benefits, including life insurance, holiday pay, annual bonuses, rent assistance and airline tickets.
ProMéxico also spent big during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto to rent offices.
In six years, it paid more than 148.7 million pesos (US $7.85 million) to rent offices in 20 cities, Milenio said. Other ProMéxico offices operated out of Mexico’s embassies and consulates.
A public trust fund and a branch of the Secretariat of the Economy (SE), ProMéxico was created by former president Felipe Calderón in 2007.
Before he took office last December, President López Obrador pledged that the agency would be eliminated, taking the view that its offices generated significant expenses yet did nothing that couldn’t be achieved through traditional diplomacy.
Yesterday, he claimed that ProMéxico “doesn’t exist anymore” but the Milenio report said it is still operational.
A recent government human resources document seen by the newspaper says that public servants are still working in the agency’s overseas offices.
ProMéxico was allocated more than 914 million pesos (US $48.2 million) in this year’s budget.
Source: Milenio (sp)