Mexico
Fiscal Transparency Evaluation

This Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) report assesses Mexico’s fiscal transparency practices against the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code (FTC), including the draft pillar on resource revenue management. Mexico scores relatively well when compared with other Latin American countries and emerging market economies that have undergone a FTE. Out of the 48 principles across four pillars in the FTC, Mexico meets 16 principles at the basic level, 9 principles at the good level and 15 principles at the advanced level, while one principle does not apply. Fiscal transparency practices are strongest in the areas of resource revenue management and fiscal forecasting and budgeting, while the scores on fiscal risks analysis and management are lower.

Abstract

This Fiscal Transparency Evaluation (FTE) report assesses Mexico’s fiscal transparency practices against the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code (FTC), including the draft pillar on resource revenue management. Mexico scores relatively well when compared with other Latin American countries and emerging market economies that have undergone a FTE. Out of the 48 principles across four pillars in the FTC, Mexico meets 16 principles at the basic level, 9 principles at the good level and 15 principles at the advanced level, while one principle does not apply. Fiscal transparency practices are strongest in the areas of resource revenue management and fiscal forecasting and budgeting, while the scores on fiscal risks analysis and management are lower.

I. Fiscal Reporting

Fiscal reports should provide a comprehensive, relevant, timely, and reliable overview of the government’s financial position and performance.

1. This chapter assesses the quality of fiscal reporting in Mexico against the principles set out in the first pillar of the IMF’s FTC. It focuses on the following four dimensions:

  1. Coverage of public sector institutions, stocks and flows;

  2. Frequency and timeliness of reporting;

  3. Quality, accessibility, and comparability of fiscal reports; and

  4. Reliability and integrity of reported fiscal data.

2. Fiscal reports in Mexico are mainly compiled and disseminated by the SHCP in accordance with the LRPRH guidelines. Articles 106 to 109 of the LFPRH define the content and frequency of the various fiscal reports that SCHP must prepare for submission to Congress. These reports are regularly published online2. Mexico’s main fiscal reports (Table 1.1) include:

  • Monthly fiscal bulletin, which presents main aggregates of budget execution (revenues and expenditures), budget fiscal balance (the main fiscal indicator used for policy analysis), PSBR balance,3 and debt position for the central government and public corporations. It also compares budget estimates and outturn of revenues and expenditures on a cash basis, using the budget classification.

  • Monthly fiscal report, which presents more detailed information on budget outturn (revenues and expenditures), fiscal balances (traditional and PSBR) and debt (stock and flows). It includes a section on executed grants to subnational governments and individual tables containing budget execution by subsector in national presentation: federal government, parastatals, social security and productive public corporations.

  • Monthly report on grants to subnational governments, which presents detailed data on actual grants by state and by type.

  • Quarterly fiscal report, which presents an analysis of the macroeconomic environment (production, prices, external sector, etc.) and the government’s fiscal performance, covering the central government, and its subsectors, and public corporations. It includes administrative, functional and economic classification of expenditure, describes changes in the budget appropriations and analyses the performance of several government programs. The report also presents the various fiscal balance indicators (primary balance, traditional fiscal balance, PSBR) and debt indicators (gross debt, net debt, HBPSBR4), including detailed information on stocks and flows (issuance/redemption) of debt instruments, with a breakdown by counterpart residency, currency, and maturity. This report introduced for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2016 the information on the financial net worth.

  • Annual fiscal report, which corresponds to end-year quarterly fiscal report, presenting the same content but on an annual perspective.

  • Semi-annual financial statements, which present the accounts up to June 30th of the current fiscal year. The statements are produced by the UCG based on the accounting data generated by the various public entities5. The statements are prepared on an accrual basis under the national accounting standards. It includes bridge tables between accounting data and budget revenue and expenditure aggregates.

  • Financial statements and budget execution report, which are organized around 8 chapters comprising accounting, budget, and programmatic information. The financial statements follow the same structure and practices as in the semi-annual publication. The chapter on budget execution contains the most comprehensive information on budget performance, including the initial budget figures, in-year modifications to the budget, and end-year outturns (commitment and payment). Data is presented using administrative, functional and economic classification, taking into account the greater level of detail of the budget structure, but not aligned with international standards (COFOG and GFSM 2014). These reports cover the budgetary central government, extra-budgetary units, financial and non-financial corporations, but sectorization follows the national presentation.

  • Annual report on subnational finances, produced by INEGI. The report presents revenue and expenditure data for states and municipalities, has a long lag, and seems to have been discontinued by the institute. The last available edition was published in 2014 containing data for 2011 fiscal year. Information is collected through paper-based forms filled by subnational authorities, which raises concern on data reliability. INEGI maintains a database on its website with more recent statistics.6

Table 1.1.

Main Fiscal Reports

article image
Note: Fin = Financing, R =Revenue, E = Expenditure, A = Assets, L = Liabilities, M = Monthly, Q = Quarterly, S = Semiannual, A = Annual, M-cash = Modified Cash, Nat = National.

1.1. Coverage

1.1.1. Coverage of Institutions

Basic

3. In 2016, the public sector in Mexico comprised 2,693 institutional units of various legal forms of which the total expenditure accounted for about 33 percent of GDP (Table 1.2). These entities can be grouped into various sectors in accordance with international standards as follows:

  • Budgetary central government (BCG): comprising 32 executive, legislative and judicial bodies (including 18 secretariats, the agrarian court, 2 commissions, 2 councils and the presidential office), 7 autonomous agencies and the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografia – INEGI (bureau of statistics).

  • Extra-budgetary central government (EBU): comprising 119 entities which include 33 institutes, 22 research centers, 10 commissions, 9 “organic” trust funds, 9 hospitals, 6 national councils and 6 regional schools.

  • Social security sector. comprising 3 social security institutions (pension and health benefits), the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social – IMSS, the Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado – ISSSTE, and the Instituto de Seguridad Social de las Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas – ISSFAM (see Box 1.1).

  • State and local governments: comprising the legislative, judiciary and executive bodies of 32 states (including the Ciudad de Mexico) and 2,457 municipalities. There are 65 trust funds at the state level.

  • Public corporations: comprising 19 financial and 49 non-financial corporations, including 6 development banks, 2 insurance companies, PEMEX - the Mexican oil company, CFE – the electricity company, and 17 ports administration companies (See Section 3.3.2). It also includes the Mexican Central Bank (Banxico).

4. Fiscal reports in Mexico have traditionally covered only entities fully included in the federal budget, which includes the BCG’s entities, two social security funds7 (IMSS and ISSSTE) and the two major non-financial public corporations (PEMEX and CFE). Monthly and quarterly fiscal reports focus on budget execution and financing. The budget fiscal balance, nationally known as “traditional balance”, is still the main indicator for assessing the impact of fiscal policy on the economy.

5. More recently, a fiscal indicator with wider coverage was introduced in fiscal documents, but still does not cover the entire general government or public sector. This indicator, named Public Sector Borrowing Requirements - PSBR (Requerimientos Financieros del Sector Publico - RFSP)8, expands the federal budget coverage to include the EBUs (including the non-organic funds9: FEIP, FEIEF, FIES, FMP, Fonadin, FEIPEMEX, FARP), the development banks, the IPAB, the PIDIREGAS and debt support program. In the fiscal reports, this indicator is derived from the traditional balance by adding the above-mentioned units and applying some accounting adjustments. In addition, SHCP publishes online10 PSBR tables, containing breakdowns of revenues and expenditures by economic classification using high-level GFSM 2014 codes. The data is also displayed by sector, using international presentation, including a consolidated central government table; however, those tables have not yet been fully included in the fiscal reports11. The major gaps in terms of coverage are the subnational governments and the central bank.

6. The annual financial statements (Cuenta Pública) are the most comprehensive fiscal report, but there is no consolidation of the subsectors. It includes all the BCG’s entities, the majority of the trust funds, extra-budgetary units, the 3 social security funds and the financial and non-financial corporations. The statements are presented in eight volumes: (i) summary fiscal performance, including budgetary revenues and expenditures and debt position; (ii) the federal government financial statements, which consolidates volumes (iii); (iv); and (v), that include a balance sheet, a statement of operations, and notes, as well as detailed budget execution tables; (iii) the executive branch financial statements; (iv) the legislative branch financial statements; (v) the judicial branch financial statements; (vi) the autonomous agencies’ financial statements; (vii) the parastatal sector financial statements, which comprises the EBUs, the social security sector, the financial and non-financial public corporations; and (viii) the PEMEX and CFE financial statements. There is no consolidation (nor aggregation) of subsectors12, each volume being an independent financial statement.

7. In 2016, the financial statements covered 89 percent of gross public sector expenditures, but a major part of it are transfers to subnational governments (Figure 1.1). The major omissions are the subnational governments, the Central Bank and the non-organic funds: FEIP, FEIEF, FIES, FMP, Fonadin, FEIPEMEX, FARP, among others.

Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1.

Coverage of Public Sector Institutions in Fiscal Reports

(in percent of expenditure)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: Staff estimates.Note: “Not Reported” refers to expenditures of units not consolidated in fiscal reports. The major gaps in financial statements and PSBR are subnational governments and the central bank while the traditional fiscal statistics also do not cover EBUs and financial public corporations.

8. Subnational governments account for around 35 percent of the net public sector expenditure, but are not consolidated in any fiscal report (Table 1.2).13 States and municipalities finance their operations with federal transfers in the form of revenue sharing mechanisms (participaciones y aportaciones14), voluntary transfers, and co-financed projects (convenios). Transfers to subnational governments represented around 40 percent of the federal budgetary expenditures in 2016 (MXN 1.7 trillion); although this figure is shown in budget documents, the final utilization15 of these resources is disclosed partially due to the absence of a fiscal report consolidating the subnational finances16.

Table 1.2.

Public Sector Institutions and Finances, 2016

(in percent of GDP, unless otherwise stated)

article image
Sources: Annual financial statements 2016; Quarterly fiscal report fourth quarter 2016; Annual GFS questionnaire 2016; Individual financial statements for the states 2016; Individual financial statements for public corporations; Banxico’s annual financial statements 2016; Estadísticas Oportunas database; INEGI database on subnational finances 2016; and staff estimates.

9. The national definition of subsectors differs from the international standards (GFSM 2014), undermining the usefulness of fiscal reports in supporting public debate and international comparison. The public sector is organized under the national classification into two subsectors: (i) federal budgetary public sector, comprising BCG’s units, the social security funds, PEMEX and CFE; and (ii) parastatal sector, comprising the EBUs, “organic” trust funds, financial and non-financial corporations except PEMEX and CFE. The stabilization funds, the subnational governments and the Central Bank are not taken into account. Volume (vii) of the financial statements has a second classification layer that can be used to sectorize the parastatals according to international standards. This exercise is being applied by SHCP to disseminate the PSBR by sector (under international standards) on its website, and authorities intend to gradually introduce this presentation in the in-year fiscal reports. Nevertheless, the current national presentation makes it difficult for an outsider to have a clear view of the public sector fiscal stance and the interactions between the corresponding subsectors.

The Mexican Pension System

The Mexican pension system is fragmented and complex. Multiple pension schemes covering private sector employees and different categories of civil servants and military personnel coexist. There are two main schemes, IMSS and ISSSTE, and several special regimes covering public sector employees (PEMEX, CFE, IMSS-patrón, ISSFAM, Development Banks, other government agencies, universities, subnational governments) and few closed special regimes (LyFC, Ferronales). The main features of these schemes are described below.

Two main schemes cover the majority of the population:

  • IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social): The IMSS covers private sector workforce. The scheme was reformed in 1997 to replace a defined-benefit Pay-as-You-Go (PAYGO) system by a defined-contribution regime with individual retirement accounts. Each worker contributes 1.125% of the quotation base wage, employer contributes 5.150%, and government pays 0.225% (total contribution reaches 6.5%) plus 5% for housing and a social fee depending on the salary level for workers with salary below a threshold equivalent to 15 times the monthly UMA (Unit of Measure and Updating – monthly UMA in 2016 was MXN 2,220.42), all of which are remitted to the individual account balance to finance pension payments upon retirement. Individuals who contributed before 1997 were grandfathered—at retirement, they can choose their pension to be calculated under the old PAYGO regime if this is higher than their entitled pension in the individual account. Those who choose the old system must return part of the balance of their individual account to the government at retirement.

  • ISSSTE (Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado): The ISSSTE covers public sector employees. It was reformed ten years later, in 2007, with the same approach of a defined-contribution regime replacing the previous PAYGO system. Worker’s contributions are 6.125% of the quotation wage, and government contributions are: 5.175% for retirement, (total contribution 11.3%) plus 5% of housing, and 5.5% of a minimum wage as a social fee, regardless of the salary. In addition, there are voluntary savings “Ahorro solidario” which increases the contribution of the workers. Individuals who contributed before 2007 had the option, but not the obligation to join the new system. Those who migrated were given a recognition bond to account for contributions prior to the reform and those who stayed in the old regime will receive pension payments under the PAYGO rules, but with parametric changes on eligibility criteria.

Other special regimes covering public sector employees:

  • Regimes of PEMEX and CFE: They cover workers of the two largest public corporations. These two PAYGO schemes provide more generous benefits and laxer eligibility requirements relative to other systems, but both were subject to a change towards a defined-contribution approach and to parametric reforms1 in 2015 to reduce the corresponding unfunded pension liabilities. In return, government issued pension bonds to these companies to the magnitude of the net present value of future pension savings.

  • ISSFAM (Instituto de Seguridad Social para las Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas): The ISSFAM covers military personnel and pension payments are mainly funded/covered by the federal budget.

  • Other schemes include schemes for Development Banks, other government agencies, universities, IMSS-patrón; and closed special regimes (LyFC, Ferronales). These regimes generally provide more generous benefits than the main systems and are mainly funded by the federal budget.

There are also pension schemes at the subnational level that are generally funded by state and local budgets.

The actuarial pension liability in Mexico considering the ISSSTE and the special regimes reached MXN 9.2 trillion (46.9 percent of GDP) in 2016. Actuarial calculations for IMSS-PAYGO are not available.

article image

According to the GFSM 2014, the statistical treatment of pension schemes depends on whether the scheme is contributory or not, whether it is a defined-benefit or defined-contribution, and whether it is a social security or employment-related scheme. For defined-benefit schemes, the statistical treatment depends on the type of beneficiaries: when the beneficiary is the general population, or a large segment of the general population, the scheme is considered a social security scheme; whereas if individuals, households, or a group of employees are eligible to receive social benefits, the scheme would be considered an employment-related social insurance scheme. Under social security schemes, the link between benefits and contributions is not considered sufficiently strong to give rise to a financial claim on the part of contributors. As a result, no liabilities are recorded, but an estimate equal to the net implicit obligations for future social security benefits should be presented as a memorandum item to the balance sheet. Employment-related pension schemes are, on the contrary, considered to involve a contractual liability towards employees and registered as liabilities.

According to this criterion, the actuarial liabilities of the ISSSTE (old PAYGO scheme), and the special regimes in Mexico would be recognized in the public sector financial statements as firm liabilities, while the old PAYGO IMSS scheme would be considered as contingent liabilities.

Source: Annual Consolidated Financial Statements, 2015; and GFSM 20141 CFE’s pension system switched from defined-benefit to defined-contribution in 2008, and it was subject to additional parametric reforms in 2015.

1.1.2. Coverage of Stocks

Basic

10. The Cuenta Pública and the quarterly fiscal reports cover cash and debt positions; the information provided on other financial assets and liabilities is not comprehensive. The financial statements also present a balance sheet containing data on financial and non-financial assets and liabilities by subsector without consolidation, but the existence of relevant unreported items and recording problems prevents Mexico from meeting more advanced practices under the FTC. These weaknesses in the financial statements have been constantly highlighted by the ASF since 2012 (see section 1.4.2) and some improvements have been achieved so far, but important gaps persist. Figure 1.2 illustrates the size of the missing items:

  • Subsoil assets are not reported (11 percent of GDP): PEMEX regularly produces estimates17 of the monetary value of proved petroleum reserves (covering about 90-95 percent of Mexico’s proved reserves) but it is not incorporated in the financial statements. For end-2016, the value PEMEX’s estimates reached 11 percent of GDP (see section 3.2.6).

  • Nonfinancial assets are not properly recorded: the valuation of fixed assets (property, plant, equipment) and land is based on historic cost instead of market values. Where an entity reports an item using historic cost, international standards often encourage disclosure of market values if there is a material difference between the reported cost and the item’s market value. More importantly, CONAC18 has established that nonfinancial assets held by the Executive Branch are not subject to depreciation,19 which tends to overvalue such assets. In the 2016 auditing cycle, ASF has found unverified stocks of around 2.5 percent of GDP in highways infrastructure. Finally, the General Law on National Assets defines non-financial assets that are considered to be on “public domain” (roads, bridges, highways, ports, among others); therefore, those assets are not recorded in the financial statements according to the General Law on Governmental Accounting. This regulation is still not operational – 2016 financial statements include public domain assets, but the balance sheet will be materially affected by the time UCP decides to fully adopt such rule.

  • Employment-related pension liabilities are partially reported (47 percent of GDP - see Box 1.1): international standards require the liabilities under employment-related pension schemes to be fully reflected in the public sector balance sheet. The national accounting regulation on employment-related benefits (NIFD-3, Norma de Información Financiera D-3) seems to be broadly aligned to IPSAS, but it is still not reflected in Cuenta Pública. IMSS and ISSSTE adopted, for the first time, NIFD-3 practices to prepare their financial statements 2016. They both presented two sets of statements, one including the pension liability estimated following NIFD-3, and the other not; the latter was taken to compose the Cuenta Pública. Liabilities related to the special pension schemes (armed forces, courts, development banks) are also not reported in Cuenta Pública, except for PEMEX and CFE, which have already incorporated in their statements the liabilities derived from their respective pension schemes. The total public sector pension liability amounted to 47 percent of GDP, of which only 8.7 percent of GDP is reported in the statements.

  • Financial liabilities related to PPPs are not reported (0.2 percent of GDP): there is currently a portfolio of 22 projects being executed under PPP arrangements, which accounts for liabilities of around 0.2 percent of GDP. Despite the relative small amount, government has plans to foster PPPs contracts in the coming years. There is currently no reporting on PPPs in financial statements and fiscal reports. International standards (IPSAS 32 and GFSM 2014) require recognition of assets and corresponding liabilities as assets are constructed. Federal and local governments are working to enhance the accounting framework for PPPs to make it broadly aligned with IPSAS 32.

  • Debt securities are mainly registered20 at face value rather than market value or nominal value21 (6 percent of GDP). The Cetes22 (T-bills) and Udibonos Segregados are the only debt instruments registered at nominal value. The long-term T-bonds (Bondes “D”, Bonos de Desarrollo, Udibonos) are all registered at face-value, which represents 87% of total stock of debt securities. The difference between the discounted issue price of T-bonds and their face value is recorded as an asset in Cuenta Pública, which accounted for 6 percent of GDP by end-2016. Following international standards, debt securities issued at a discount (or premium) are recorded at the issue price (nominal value). The difference between the discounted issue price of such debt securities and their price at maturity (face value or redemption price) is treated as interest accruing over the life of the debt security.

  • Treasury securities used by the Banxico for liquidity management are only partially reported (25 percent of GDP – see APPENDIX 1). Banxico has been using T-bonds issued directly by the Treasury for liquidity management. At end 2016, a stock of about 4.9 percent of the GDP in T-bonds has been placed in the market through the Banxico monetary policy management arrangement, and an additional 20 percent in treasury securities is held by the bank to be used in monetary open market operations. In the official debt statistics23 (traditional, SHRFSP and PFN), these securities are not considered as central government (or general government, GG) debt while in Cuenta Pública it is reported under a specific liability line item, not under the debt heading. This contrasts with the treatment in the GFSM, where Treasury securities are considered a debt liability of the CG and GG, regardless if it’s issued to the market through the Central Bank or directly by the Treasury. In addition, the Central Bank is considered a public financial institution, and, as such, its Treasury securities holdings are also considered a debt liability of the GG. Moreover, in Mexican framework, the treasury is responsible for repaying the bonds at maturity, although the bank bears the interest costs over the period.

  • Assets and liabilities at the subnational level are not reported (assets: 7.8 percent of GDP; liabilities: 3.6 percent of GDP). Subnational finances are not included in any fiscal report. Based on available information, states have assets of around 7.8 percent of GDP, mainly non-financial assets, while the total liabilities of states and municipalities amounted for 3.6 percent of GDP, three-fourth of it being credit loans.

Figure 1.2.
Figure 1.2.

Public Sector Balance Sheet Coverage in Fiscal Reports, 2016

(percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Sources: Quarterly fiscal report, Cuenta Pública 2016 and staff estimates.

11. The published volume II (Tomo II) of the Cuenta Pública of the Federal Government shows a negative net worth of 21 percent of the GDP by December 2016, whereas the missing items would have improved the financial position by 7.8 percent of GDP (Table 1.3). Total reported assets amounted to 50.4 percent of GDP, of which 6.9 percent of GDP were in the form of fixed assets (buildings, machinery and infrastructure), 25.3 percent correspond to deposits in the Treasury restricted account held in the Banxico under the monetary regulatory framework (see APPENDIX 1), 7.0 percent in equity on parastatals and public corporations, and 1.7 percent in equity on non-organic trust funds. There is an accounting asset record related to the discount on issuance of long term T-bond (6.3 percent of GDP), since face value is applied as valuation method of debt securities on the liability side of the balance sheet. Reported Liabilities accounted for 71.2 percent of GDP, of which 65.5 percent of GDP corresponds to T-bonds (at face value), including 25.3 percent of GDP on the monetary regulatory framework, 4.4 percent of GDP on loans and 1.2 percent of GDP on accounts payable. Table 1.3 presents the published balance sheet position and the adjustments in line with international standards, which would increase the net worth by 7.8 percent of GDP.

Table 1.3.

Public Sector Balance Sheet Coverage in Fiscal Reports, 2016

(percent of GDP)

article image
Source: Cuenta Pública 2016 and staff estimates.

12. Taking a consolidated view of the public sector balance sheet, however, the net worth reaches a negative 50 percent of GDP, which is lower in comparison to Mexico’s peers in the region and other comparable emerging economies (Figure 1.3). Total public sector estimated liabilities amounted to about 123.9 percent of GDP of which 52.3 percent of GDP are in the form of debt securities; including T-bills, T-bonds and treasury securities sold by Banxico for monetary policy operations (see APPENDIX 1). Pension liabilities accounted for 46.9 percent of GDP and loans for 12.7 percent of GDP. Estimated assets amounted to 73.9 percent of GDP of which 39.9 percent of GDP in fixed assets, 11.3 percent of GDP in petroleum reserves, and 34.0 percent of GDP in financial assets (deposits, international reverses and financial investments).

Figure 1.3.
Figure 1.3.

Public Sector Net Worth in Selected Countries

(percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Sources: FTE reports.

1.1.3. Coverage of Flows

Basic

13. Fiscal reports widely used for policy discussions are compiled on a cash basis of recording, including revenues, expenditures and financing. Revenue is recorded when cash is collected by SAT, the Treasury or local tax agencies, and expenditure by the time payment is made by spending units. Budget execution also records expenditure data on a modified cash basis (devengado), i.e., registered when the obligation for payment is recognized24, but this information is not used to compile the fiscal balance (traditional and PSBR) and other fiscal indicators. Some minor in-kind fiscal transactions are incorporated in the fiscal reports on market value basis. Although IMSS, ISSSTE, PEMEX, and CFE produce financial information on accrual basis, only cash flows are submitted25 to SHCP for compiling the monthly and quarterly fiscal reports. The data for IPAB, FONADIN and development banks are taken on a modified-cash basis in the PSBR compilation methodology.

14. The statistical treatment of the capital payments from the Banxico (ROBM) is not in line with the international standards. In the last three years the SHCP received significant capital payments from the Banxico in the form of distribution of operational gains of the bank.26 These transfers were treated as dividends in fiscal statistics, positively affecting the fiscal balances (traditional and PSBR). However, the Banxico’s gains mainly reflected unrealized profits due to the effect of MXN’s depreciation on the valuation of the large stock of international reserves, which is denominated in foreign currencies (mainly US$). In accordance with the GFSM 2014, the transfer of unrealized gains/losses from exchange rate valuation associated with international reserves is treated as other economic flows, not affecting the fiscal balance (see APPENDIX 1). (An adjustment approach is illustrated on Figure 1.4 below).

15. The statistical treatment of the transactions related to FEIP’s investment in financial instruments for hedging oil-price risks should also be revised. FEIP is one of the revenue stabilization funds outside of the federal budget boundaries. Therefore, the budgetary transfers to the fund (based on proceeds from oil sales) and the withdraws from the fund (to compensate for a reduction in budget revenues) are both captured in the traditional balance indicator. Furthermore, the fund is included in the coverage of the wider PSBR indicator, but the transactions it performs in the international financial markets have an asymmetric treatment in the calculation of such fiscal indicator. The fund operates by acquiring financial instruments for hedging oil-price volatility, mainly option contracts. GFSM 2014 recommends that such transactions (including the execution of the option) should be treated below-the-line (net acquisition of financial assets). Authorities claim that the fund, regardless of the financial instrument used, operates under a revenue insurance mechanism, which justifies the above-the-line recording. Apart from this debate, a major issue to be addressed is the fact that the two sides of such transaction are being treated asymmetrically in the PSBR indicator: the outflows from the fund to acquire the option/insurance are taken below-the-line while the inflows from executing the option/calling the insurance are recorded above-the-line. As a result, the PSBR indicator has been positively distorted (Table 1.4). The proper statistical treatment could be further investigated27, but a symmetric approach should be immediately implemented – the short-run pragmatic alternative would be to record the payments from the fund as expenses above-the-line (this approach is taken on Figure 1.4 below).

Table 1.4.

FEIP’s Oil Hedging Program

(percent of GDP)

article image
Source: SHCP.

16. The annual financial statements present some flows on accrual-basis; however, significant accrued transactions are omitted. The Cuenta Pública contains a statement of operations with accrued revenues and expenditures, including accounts payable/receivable, depreciation (except for the Executive Branch), revaluations of assets (including equity holdings) and liabilities, and other economic flows generated by changes in currency exchange rates. The major omission is the unreported annual net accrual of employment–related pension liabilities, which was estimated28 at 2.3 percent of GDP in 2016 for all special pension schemes (PEMEX, CFE, IMSS-patrón, development banks) and ISSSTE. Depreciation of fixed assets held by the executive branch29 (around half of total public sector fixed assets) is another significant gap as well as the lack of accrual recording of interest on discounted long-term T-bonds (see paragraph 10 above). Finally, flows related to PPP contracts are not recorded because IPSAS 32 has not yet been adopted.

17. National accounting practices are still in an early stage of development, since IPSAS have not yet been implemented. The Government Accounting Conceptual Framework (Marco Conceptual de Contabilidad Gubernamental – MCCG) issued by CONAC establishes that the national regulations take precedence over international standards. There are over 70 regulations on accounting practices and standards issued by CONAC to date, which are of mandatory compliance for government agencies. Although some IPSAS elements have been taken as general references by CONAC, IPSAS have not yet been adopted.30 The ongoing initiative of federal and local governments to enhance the accounting framework for PPPs in line with IPSAS 32 is most welcome. Such initiative should be considered as a first step towards a gradual implementation of IPSAS in Mexico.

18. Cash-to-accrual and coverage adjustments would increase the Mexican public sector deficit by 3.5 percent of GDP in 2016, mainly due to ROBM and FEIP oil hedging program adjustments and accrual of pension entitlements. Adjusting the statistical treatment of the ROBM and FEIP oil hedging program would increase the cash deficit to 4.1 percent of GDP, 1.3 percent higher than currently reported in fiscal reports. The balance does not alter in the case where Banxico and subnational governments (on cash-basis) are included in the coverage; nevertheless, the public sector net borrowing reaches 6.3 percent of GDP when the accrued expenses related to pension entitlements and PPP contracts are taken into account (Figure 1.4).

19. Despite being broadly covered in fiscal reports, cash transactions within public sector entities are difficult to follow through in the reports, which poses a challenge for fiscal transparency. There is a complex system of transfers within public sector entities in Mexico, some of which are driven by multiple-tiers earmarking mechanisms (see section 2.1.1) and the multiplicity of trust funds (revenue stabilization and spending funds). This system also reflects the unique national sectorization of public entities that applies to the federal budget allocation and to the dissemination of fiscal statistics (Figure 2.1). These transfers are reported in several tables in multiple reports, but each one with a different presentation format and coverage. Reconciliation of the figures between the tables is not easy and there is no guidance on how to interpret the data.

Figure 1.4.
Figure 1.4.

Cash to Accrual and Coverage Adjustments, 2016

(Percent of GDP, unless otherwise stated)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Sources: Quarterly fiscal report, Cuenta Pública 2016 and staff estimates.Note: Depreciation of fixed assets reached 1.0 percent of GDP, affecting the operating balance, but not deteriorating the net lending.

1.1.4. Tax Expenditures

Good

20. The federal government has been publishing an annual report on the estimated revenue loss from tax expenditures since 2002. In compliance with the provisions of Article 30 of the Federal Revenue Law, this report on tax expenditures is delivered to the Congress31 by June 30 each year. The report is published on the SHCP’s website. It covers the current year and the coming fiscal year. The report defines tax expenditures, explains the methodology used for calculating revenue losses, and breaks down the information by category of tax (e.g., corporate and personal income tax, VAT, etc.), by expenditure (e.g., deductions, exemptions, deferrals, etc.) and by economic sector (e.g., agriculture, mining, construction, etc.). However, the budgetary goal and target for the size of tax expenditures is not defined in a policy statement issued by the government.

21. Tax expenditures in Mexico are relatively moderate compared to other countries (Figure 1.5). Total tax expenditure in 2018 is estimated to be around 3.5 percent of GDP (Figure 1.6). However, the tax expenditures as a share of total tax revenues is relatively high at 26.6 percent. After the income tax reform in 2014, the overall level of tax expenditures fell, particularly for corporations, but increased slightly in 2017 and 2018. This change is largely related to the implementation of the energy reform package which provided a fiscal stimulus during the transition to market-based fuel rates. Almost 45 percent of all tax expenditures, corresponding roughly to 1.5 percent of GDP (Figure 1.7), relate to VAT, the largest of which are revenue losses due to reduced rates. A similar share relates to corporate and personal income taxation, including employment subsidies and exemptions of personal income tax.

Figure 1.5.
Figure 1.5.

Revenue Loss from Tax Expenditures in Selected Countries (Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: IMF Staff Estimates (IMF Fiscal Monitor, April 2011, for other countries.; UK Fiscal Transparency Evaluation 2016 for UK).Note: Estimates are for 2010, except for Guatemala (2009) and UK (FY 14/15)

Tax expenditures

Figure 1.6.
Figure 1.6.

Mexico: Level of Tax Revenues and Tax Expenditures, 2013-2018 (Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 1.7.
Figure 1.7.

Mexico: Tax Expenditures, 2013-2018

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: Annual report on tax expenditures and Public Account (SHCP website)

22. In Mexico, the discussion of tax expenditures and the annual budget takes place at different times. Tax expenditures can be a substitute for or complement direct spending programs. Therefore, ideally, they should be discussed alongside proposals for new spending to allow proper prioritization and allocation of public resources. Although in Mexico, the budget proposal is submitted later than the report on tax expenditures32 and should include a chapter on tax expenditures, in practice the link between these two documents and the decision making on alternative options is weak. The annual revenue law contains only a summary of tax expenditures without a table describing the main tax expenditures and related revenue losses. Providing full information on all tax expenditures in the budget documents would show which groups and sectors currently benefit from exemptions, and the extent of overall revenue loss. As a result, it would improve the transparency of policy-making.

1.2. Frequency and Timeliness

1.2.1. Frequency of In-Year Reports

Advanced

23. SHCP publishes fiscal reports on a monthly basis with a 30-day lag and the quarterly fiscal report is available within a month from the end of the quarter. The monthly fiscal bulletin and the monthly fiscal report containing the cash-based fiscal statistics (traditional balance, RFPS, financing and debt position) are disseminated on a monthly basis and within 30 days of the end of each month. The monthly report on grants to subnational governments is published with a 15-day lag. Finally, the quarterly fiscal report is sent to Congress and published in the SHCP’s website 30 days after the end of the reference quarter. The above-mentioned monthly and quarterly frequencies for the disclosure of fiscal data, as well as the content the reports, are established in detail by the LFPRH (article 107) and the SHCP has regularly complied with these legal provisions.

1.2.2. Timeliness of Annual Financial Statements

Advanced

24. The Constitution (article 74) mandates the publication of final accounts (Cuenta Pública) by end-April and audited statements by end-October. The SHCP has consistently met the dates and AFS has produced its auditing report to the chamber of deputies with the legal 8 months after the year end. The constitution allows for an extension in the dates on a maximum of 30 additional days on both deadlines. The statements submitted to congress by end-April are final. SHCP publishes the financial statements on its website upon submission to the legislative.

1.3. Quality

1.3.1. Classification

Not met

25. The fiscal reports in Mexico include information classified by administrative, economic, functional, and program categories. The administrative classification is based on the existing structure of the budgetary units. The economic classification is broadly aligned with GFSM 1986 and is quite detailed. The functional classification used in the budget and SHCP’s quarterly reports largely follows the United Nations’ Classification of Functions of Government (COFOG), but has been adjusted to match the structure of sectors in Mexico33. As defined in the FRBL, a key element of the budget is its programmatic structure, which is submitted to the Chamber of Deputies by June 30 of each year. The classification and reporting structure is harmonized across budget and accounting systems, and is shared by the federal, state, and local levels of government.

26. The economic and functional classifications have yet to comply with international standards, and the government is preparing changes to the classification of fiscal statistics to achieve this. The SHCP publishes more detailed statistical tables by economic classification on its website. However, these tables do not contain all information necessary to produce GFSM 2014-compliant fiscal statistics. Importantly, the SHCP has developed bridging tables to produce reports by economic classification consistent with the GFSM standards. These tables were submitted to the IMF in the beginning of 2018, but at the time of the mission, had not been published by the government. Publication of this additional information would improve the rating of this indicator.34

1.3.2. Internal Consistency

Good

27. Fiscal reports include two out of the three reconciliations prescribed by the FT code. The annex on public debt of the quarterly fiscal report present extensive information on debt issuance, redemption, and opening and closing position, by debt instruments, counterpart residency, currency, and maturity. The reconciliation between the financing and change in debt position is not explicitly presented, but can be easily derived from the additional tables on the change in net debt.

28. The financing data presented in the traditional balance table is not comparable with financing figures shown in the table of reconciliation between financing and the change in net debt, due to the valuation method applied to debt securities (face value). This happens because in all debt tables, gross debt, net debt, change in net debt, the stock of T-bonds are registered at face value, as well as the flows of issuance of such securities. The only exceptions are the Certificados de Tesorería – Cetes and the Udibonos Segregados, which represented only 13 percent of the debt stock in treasury securities by the end of 2016. Therefore, the consistency between the cash fiscal balance (traditional) and the stock of net debt is not guaranteed. This issue should be addressed by changing the valuation method of T-bonds to nominal value in order to ensure that the fiscal balance performance indicator allows for a proper assessment of the debt dynamics.

29. The reconciliation between fiscal balance and financing is not provided and cannot be easily derived. Although this reconciliation is key to ensure consistency of fiscal data, fiscal reports do not assess the discrepancies between above and below-the-line calculations of fiscal balance. The monthly fiscal bulletin presents no discrepancy between the traditional balance and the financing for the social security funds (IMSS and ISSSTE) and the two “productive” public corporations (PEMEX and CFE), which is quite unusual. The financing (below-the-line) for the federal government is published in supplementary tables available online, but without any reconciliation with the above-the-line statistics presented in the reports. Comparing the two figures, one also finds an unusual zero discrepancy.35

30. However, discrepancies have been contained on both fiscal balance indicators, traditional and PSBR. Discrepancy between above-the-line and below-the-line deficit for the federal government (traditional balance) marked 0.02 percent of GDP in 2015 and was technically zero in 2016. Such figures were provided by the authorities since the information available online shows no difference between fiscal balance and financing (see paragraph below). Taking the wider PSBR indicator for the federal public sector, the average discrepancy was 0.27 percent of GDP over the period 2008-2017, surpassing the threshold of 0.1 percent of GDP in 2009 and 2017 (Figure 1.8). The discrepancy series for the PSBR is available on SHCP’s website in the Estadísticas Oportunas database.

Figure 1.8.
Figure 1.8.

Mexico: Statistical Discrepancy between Fiscal Balance and Financing

(Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Sources: Fiscal Reports and additional information provided by authorities.

1.3.3. Historical Revisions

Not met

31. Revisions to data on fiscal aggregates are not disclosed in fiscal reports, although ex-post revisions appear not to be significant. Fiscal statistics are initially released as provisional and become final upon the publication on the audited financial statements (18 months later). Over this period, revisions to provisional statistics can be performed based on updated source data, but the public is not informed of these changes. Final outcomes appear as new figures in future fiscal reports, without any comparison, explanation or bridging tables reconciling the different vintages. The online SHCP’s database is updated retroactively whenever there is a change to sources and methods, in order to revise historical data. Over the last few years, annual revisions to the fiscal balance were less than 0.1 percent of GDP.

32. SHCP assesses the magnitude of historical revisions to fiscal statistics on a regular basis, but only for internal use. The General Directorate of Statistics produces analyses on the magnitude, characteristics and technical reasons of changes in source data that give rise to revisions on fiscal aggregates. Such investigations are used to improve compilation practices and quality of fiscal statistics, but are not made public. Making these studies public and introducing a short section on historical revisions in the quarterly fiscal reports would represent initial steps towards improved practice.

1.4. Integrity

1.4.1. Statistical Integrity

Good

33. Fiscal statistics are produced and disseminated by the SHCP in line with the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) practices. Mexico subscribed to the SDDS in 1996 and, met all SDDS requirements in 2000, and has been complying with dissemination policies since the time of subscription. The fiscal data disseminated under SDDS framework is the same set of information compiled and published by SHCP on the regular fiscal reports, on monthly and quarterly basis.

34. SHCP has the legal mandate to produce and disseminate fiscal statistics. Such mandate was granted by articles 106 to 109 of the LFPRH, that define the scope of fiscal information to be submitted to Congress and disclosed to public. The SHCP’s General Directorate of Statistics consolidates data provided by various data-producing units (debt, revenue, budget, etc.) and composes the fiscal statistics and reports. This is an important institutional arrangement to prevent multiplicity of agencies disseminating fiscal data.

35. SHCP submitted fiscal data to the IMF’s GFS Yearbook using the GFSM 2014 reporting format for the first time in the beginning of 2018, but with no major methodological changes. Although using the same original cash-based data, SHCP conducted a valuable effort in classifying the institutional units into the GFSM defined sectors and subsectors. The exercise also included subnational finances in the compilation process in order to produce statistics for the consolidated general government. This initiative is a welcome preliminary step in migrating to more advanced statistics standards. Mexico should set up a migration plan to gradually adopt the GFSM 2014 and IPSAS (including accrual accounting practices) to allow for more comprehensive fiscal analysis and evaluation of fiscal policies.

1.4.2. External Audit

Basic

36. Auditoria Superior de la Federación – ASF – is the supreme audit institution in charge of auditing the federal government’s financial statements. Its mandate is regulated by articles 74 and 79 of the constitution, which ensures its technical and managerial independence from the government. The Auditor General is appointed by the legislative branch. ASF undertakes financial audits of fiscal statements in accordance with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) and reports the audit results to a surveillance commission of the chamber of deputies.

37. ASF has traditionally conducted operational and financial auditing at an individual basis in every public entity. It has a mandate to conduct individual auditing process in almost all kinds of public entities, including central government units, parastatals, and funds. More recently ASF started auditing subnational governments and its corresponding public bodies. Financial auditing of the Cuenta Pública, as a whole, started in 2012. However, its enforcement power and prerogatives to apply sanctions on noncompliance could be strengthened, since several disclaimers and adverse opinions over the last years have not produced strong improvements in the accounts to date.

38. ASF has been conducting financial audits on annual accounts since 2012, issuing 4 disclaimers and 1 adverse (2013) opinion in the period 2012-2016. Their findings reveal a number of concerns such as : (i) there are limited accounting records for non-financial assets and corresponding depreciation, PPP arrangements, and contingent liabilities; (ii) the information presented in the financial statements is not fully harmonized among public entities, which reveal inconsistencies on debtor-creditor records, and non-compliance with reporting requirements by several entities providing financial information; (iii) other obligations such as PPP-related liabilities are not disclosed; and (iv) pension liabilities are not registered. There are limited findings related to financial auditing to subnational governments since the ASF was granted powers to audit them only in 2017. Nevertheless, ASF has raised concerns on the reliability of fiscal data reported by states and municipalities given that initial audits suggested that half of the 32 Mexican states were registering fiscal deficits while the publicly available information on INEGI’s data set shows a few states on fiscal deficit in the 2016 fiscal year. Furthermore, the ASF has issued a number of recommendations to strengthen the measurement of the fiscal position, the fiscal revenues and expenditures, the public sector financing, the public spending and the public debt at subnational level.

1.4.3. Comparability of Fiscal Data

Good

39. Fiscal statistics and forecasts adopt the budget structure in terms of the coverage and economic classification. The main data source used to prepare fiscal reports in Mexico is the budget execution data. Therefore, the fiscal tables are presented on the same basis as the budget, with the same economic and administrative classifications. The economic classification of expenditure is based on a two-tier codification system, expenditure type (clasificador por tipo de gasto) and expenditure object (clasificador por objeto de gasto); the former distinguishes between current and capital expenditure, as well as programmable and non-programmable, while the latter classifies the expenditure by nine economic categories36 (payroll, transfers, general services, etc.). Fiscal forecasts are also presented on the same basis as the budget.

40. Final accounts have a different classification framework, and there is no reconciliation of main aggregates. The financial statements are distinct in coverage, basis of recording, and classification of revenues and expenses. Therefore, accounting and budget execution figures differ, but there is inadequate information on how to reconcile those numbers on the notes to the statements or the budget outturn documents.

41. The publication of fiscal data in line with the GSFM 2014 presentation should be accompanied by bridging tables to allow for reconciliation with the budget and traditional fiscal statistics. SHCP have prepared bridging tables to map the traditional fiscal data to the GFSM 2014 economic categories and submitted the converted data to the IMF’s statistics department in the beginning of 2018. In case this data is published, it should be accompanied by the corresponding bridging tables in order to ensure reconciliation of the new set of statistics with the previous one. This would require an eventual reassessment of this rating.37

1.5. Conclusions and Recommendations

42. Mexico’s fiscal reporting practices meet good or advanced standards in several areas, providing plenty of fiscal and accounting data on a timely manner. Fiscal statistics are disseminated on a monthly basis and final financial statements are released four months after the end of the referenced fiscal year. Few countries in the Region have achieved such an advanced level in terms of frequency, regularity and timeliness of fiscal reporting. The SHCP’s General Directorate of Statistics plays a key role in consolidating information from various data-producing units to compile final statistics for dissemination. Fiscal statistics are comparable with fiscal forecasts and budget plans since they are built on the budget execution data. Moreover, Mexico is a SDDS compliant since 2000. Finally, tax expenditures are fully disclosed on an annual basis, broadening the analytical scope of fiscal indicators.

43. In other areas, however, practices could be improved, in particular, on coverage of the institutions, stocks and flows. A major gap is the subnational sector, not covered by any fiscal report, even though states and municipalities represent 35 percent of the total public sector spending (net of transfers). Furthermore, relevant assets and liabilities and transactions (flows) are omitted or misreported in the financial statements and fiscal statistics. Finally, financial statements are not consolidated, which undermines the usefulness of the statements for a comprehensive analyses of the public sector financial position.

44. The lack of compliance with international standards on economic and functional classification of revenues and expenditures is another weakness that can be addressed soon. Publishing bridging tables developed by the SHCP to produce reports by economic classification consistent with the GFSM standards would improve the fiscal information to make more transparent the use of public resources and to facilitate international comparisons. Producing fiscal data on COFOG functional classification is also desirable to strengthen fiscal analysis.

45. Based on the above assessment, the FTE highlights the following priorities for improving the transparency of fiscal reporting:

  • Recommendation 1.1: Consolidate the general government and the public sector in the fiscal reports in accordance with international standards. Expanding the coverage and improving consolidation practices will allow for a broader view of public finances, enhancing the usefulness of the reports for fiscal analysis and policy decision-making.

    • Priority should be given to introduce fiscal data of subnational governments in the Quarterly Fiscal Report (initially on annual basis in the end-year report) and consolidate these entities in the PSBR and HBPSBR fiscal indicators. States and municipalities are responsible for the final allocation of around 40 percent of the federal budget expenditures and having their budget execution disclosed in the reports will be a major improvement in fiscal reporting practices. In order to achieve this, SHCP should develop a web-based software system38 for submission of fiscal data by states and municipalities. Once such a system becomes operational, fiscal statistics for the consolidated general government and public sector can be disseminated on a quarterly basis39.

    • Implement consolidations practices in Cuenta Pública. As a first step, volumes (Tomos) II, VII and VIII should be consolidated in a new volume to present statements for the consolidated federal public sector. Further, SHCP should gradually include the accounts of states, municipalities and the Banxico in order to consolidate the entire public sector40. This would improve the usefulness of the statements for overseeing the evolution of the overall financial position,41 including asset/liability management and mitigation of fiscal risks.

  • Recommendation 1.2: Improve the coverage of stocks and flows in fiscal reports, by including missing assets, liabilities and fiscal flows which will allow the reports to provide an accurate view of Mexico’s financial position.

    • The Cuenta Pública should: (i) include the main missing assets and liabilities highlighted in this report such as the FMP, oil reserves at present value, the employment-related pension liabilities (IMSS-patrón, ISSSTE, ISSFAM, PEMEX, CFE, courts and development banks), PPP liabilities, and assets and liabilities at the subnational level (including pension liabilities); (ii) improve the valuation of fixed assets, in particular highways infrastructure, and account the long term T-bonds (Bondes “D”, Bonos de Desarrollo, Udibonos, Udibonos Segregados) at nominal value; and (iii) record flows of net accrual of employment–related pension liabilities, accrual of interest on discounted long term T-bonds and accrued expenses under PPP arrangements.

    • The Quarterly Fiscal Report should: (i) include the stock of T-bonds issued to Banxico in debt statistics (gross debt, net debt, HBPSBR and PFN); (ii) apply nominal value as valuation method of T-bonds; (iii) correct the asymmetric treatment of FEIP’s oil hedging program transactions and adjust the PSBR calculation; (iv) include the accrual of interest on discounted T-bonds; (v) include expenditures and debt position of the subnational governments (at least on annual basis – end year report).42

  • Recommendation 1.3: Start publishing fiscal statistics by economic and functional classifications compliant with international standards.

    • ▪ As a first step, the SHCP should include more detailed statistical tables for reporting on the PSBR aligned with the GFSM 2014 economic classification in the budget documents and quarterly fiscal report. While such tables are available on the SHCP’s website, these are not published in any regular reports. The GFSM 2014 compliant reporting would allow a better fiscal analysis and monitoring of the PSBR, including timely revisions to budget activities during execution. Furthermore, publishing detailed fiscal statistics by economic classification fully aligned with the GFSM2014, that the SHCP has already prepared via bridging tables for the IMF, would enhance the understanding of underlying pressures on the budget, and strengthen the usefulness and credibility of fiscal reports.

    • ▪ In the medium term, the SHCP could consider developing a bridging table to produce COFOG-compliant reports and publishing these reports. This would further improve the disclosure of the data and provide useful perspectives for more comprehensive analysis and decision-making.

  • Other recommendation: Continue with the process of the gradual implementation43 of IPSAS in Mexico to improve accounting practices.

Table 1.5 summarizes the assessment against the principles of the Code.

Table 1.5.

Mexico: Summary Assessment of Fiscal Reporting Practices

article image

II. Fiscal Forecasting and Budgeting

Fiscal forecasts and budgets should provide a clear statement of the government’s budgetary objectives and policy intentions, and comprehensive, timely, and credible prosecutions of the evolution of public finances.

46. This chapter assesses the quality of Mexico’s fiscal forecasting and budgeting practices against the standards set by the Fiscal Transparency Code. It considers four key dimensions of fiscal forecasting and budgeting based on publicly available information:

  • The comprehensiveness of the budget and associated documentation;

  • The orderliness and timeliness of the budget process;

  • Policy orientation; and

  • The credibility of the fiscal forecasts and budget proposals.

47. A summary of the main laws, fiscal and budget documents reviewed during the mission is presented in Table 2.0.

Table 2.0.

Mexico: Fiscal Forecasting and Budget Documents

article image
article image

2.1. Comprehensiveness

2.1.1. Budget Unity

Basic

48. The coverage and structure of the federal budget is much broader and more complex than in many other countries, but not all extra-budgetary units are included in the budget documentation. In addition to ministries and other spending entities (“budgetary central government”), the budget includes two large state public corporations (PEMEX and CFE), and two social security funds. Except for PEMEX, whose transactions with the budget are shown on a net basis, flows within the federal budget are recorded on a gross basis. There are 119 extra-budgetary units44 (EBUs) which are outside the perimeter of the budget, but information on the revenues, spending and financing of each unit is included in the budget documents. Some of these entities have a commercial orientation and should be properly classified as public corporations (see Section 3.3.2). The revenues and expenditure of these entities represent around 6 percent of the federal budget (Table 2.1). In addition, more than 246 federal trust funds45 make transactions largely outside the budget. The net worth of these entities (including those belonging to sub-national governments) is estimated at about 2.7 percent of GDP (see Section 3.2.2). Information on transfers from the budget relating to trust funds, expenditure by them, and their balances of available funds is published in the SHCP’s quarterly reports. The main area of improvement would be to publish additional information on the execution of their budgets.46

Table 2.1.

Spending and Own-Revenues of Extra-Budgetary Units (percent)

article image
Source: SHCP, and FAD staff.

49. Figure 2.1 illustrates the more relevant flows between the federal budget and other public-sector entities in 2016. Transfers to subnational governments amounted to MXN 1,724 billion, mainly driven by revenue earmarking mechanisms. The two major social security institutions/funds, IMSS and ISSSTE, received MXN 491 billion to finance ordinary pension payments, while PEMEX and CFE received transfers of MXN 184 billion and MXN 161 billion respectively as a once-for-all compensation for the pension reform implemented in 2015. In addition, the CFE was paid MXN 30 billion in subsidies for electricity prices. Decentralized agencies (extra-budgetary entities, commissions, and hospitals, among others) received MNX 199 billion to finance their operations beyond the level of their own revenue. The more complex part of the system stands for the FMP stabilization mechanism (see Section 4.4). In 2016, FMP collected MNX 380 billion from the oil sector and transferred it to the budget, which allocated the resources accordingly. Another part was redirected to states and municipalities through the FEIP and FEIEF trust funds.

Figure 2.1.
Figure 2.1.

Relationship Between the Budget and the Wider Public Sector, 2016

(MXN billion)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Sources: SHCP, Quarterly Reports, Cuenta Pública 2016, and FAD staff estimates.Note: Banxico: Banco de Mexico (Central Bank); FMP: Fondo Mexicano de Petroleo (Mexican Petroleum Fund); FEIP: Fondo de Estabilización de Ingresos Presupuestarios (Budget Revenue Stabilization Fund); FEIEF: Fondo de Estabilización de Ingresos de Entidades Federativas (Subnational Revenue Stabilization Fund); FIES: Fondo para el Fomento de la Investigación Económica y Social (Fund for Economic and Social Research).

2.1.2 Macroeconomic forecasts

Good

50. The SCHP prepares forecasts of the main macroeconomic variables and their underlying assumptions. It publishes two reports that cover macroeconomic forecasts—a “Pre-Criteria” report (in April) and a General Economic Policy Criteria (GEPC) report (in September).

  • The “Pre-Criteria” report covers the previous, current and next fiscal year, but includes no medium-term projections. It provides an overview of the external environment and describes the broad assumptions made in preparing forecasts of the key macroeconomic variables such as GDP, inflation, the oil price, interest rates, and the current account. There is a discussion of the underlying drivers of each of the components of GDP, fiscal and monetary policy developments, and government financing needs. The report also includes projections of the key fiscal variables—revenues, expenditures, planned borrowing and debt. It is submitted to the Congress by April 1.

  • The General Economic Policy Criteria (GEPC) report provides a medium-term forecast of key macroeconomic variables, as well as a wider review of economic and fiscal developments. The report is part of the package of budget documents presented to the Congress by September 8. It provides updated projections for the current and next fiscal year as well as forecasts for the following five years. The explanations accompanying the medium-term forecasts and their key drivers, are considerably less detailed than the forecasts for the next fiscal year. The medium-term macroeconomic forecasts would be improved by including, for example, a more complete analysis of the main components of GDP (agriculture, industry, services, etc.), and their contribution to GDP growth, and more detailed projections of expenditure and revenue components.

51. The accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts in Mexico could be improved. When actual and projected data are compared (Figure 2.2), nominal GDP forecast is relatively accurate, except for a few outlier years. However, projections of real GDP growth and inflation show significant deviations from the outturns (Table 2.2 and Figure 2.3).47 Over the last 7 years the average absolute deviation in the real GDP forecast one year ahead has been 1.2 percentage points of GDP, ranging from underestimation of 2.1 percentage points in 2010 to an overestimation of the same magnitude in 2013. Since the economic downturn in 2013, successive forecasts have predicted a recovery in real GDP growth rates that did not materialize. As for inflation, during 2010-2017, except 2015, the forecast has always been lower than actual, with an average absolute deviation of 0.8 percentage points (Figure 2.4)48. The credibility of forecasts could be enhanced by taking more account of independent forecasts (see Section 2.4.1) and by analyzing forecast deviations and preparing reconciliation tables (see Section 2.4.3).

Table 2.2.

Mexico: Macroeconomic Assumptions: Differences Between Budget Forecasts and Outturns, 2010–2016

article image
Source: SHCP.

Forecast Accuracy

Figure 2.2.
Figure 2.2.

Forecasts and Observed Nominal GDP (Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.3.
Figure 2.3.

Forecast and Observed Real GDP Growth (Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.4.
Figure 2.4.

Forecast and Observed Inflation (Percent)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: SHCPNote: These charts present an overview of different vintages of forecasts compared to actual outturns.

2.1.3. Medium-Term Budget Framework (MTBF)

Basic

52. Mexico prepares and publishes a medium-term fiscal framework (MTFF) but the development of a medium-term budget framework (MTBF) is rudimentary. An MTBF provides a bridge between a country’s fiscal strategy (MTFF) and the budget, a process for setting expenditure ceilings at the ministerial and program level for coming fiscal year and three or four additional years, and for making reliable forward projections of spending (see Box 2.1). One of the documents presented with the budget is the General Economic Policy Criteria for the Annual Revenue Law and the Expenditure Budget Law (GEPC).49 This report includes projections of key macro-economic and fiscal variables for the upcoming budget year (2018 in the most recent case) and over the medium term (2019-2023).50 Additionally, it includes a table showing medium-term projections of expenditure by economic category, but at a highly aggregated level. However, the report includes only limited data on the outturns of key macroeconomic and fiscal indicators for the two preceding fiscal years. A comparison of successive vintages of the projections published in the GEPC shows that in many years there have been substantial variations between the forecasts of aggregate revenue and expenditure and the outturns (Figures 2.5. and 2.6.).

Definition of MTFFs and MTBFs

A medium-term fiscal framework (MTFF) encompasses the top-down specification of the aggregate resource envelope and the allocation of resources across spending agencies. It typically shows projections of the main fiscal aggregates—revenue, expenditure, the deficit, and public debt—over a period of 3-5 years.

A medium-term budget framework (MTBF) refers to a set of institutional arrangements for prioritizing, presenting, and managing revenue and expenditure over several years. It is usually presented in the same format, classification and level of detail as the annual budget. Binding or indicative ceiling on expenditure are included for all years of the MTBF. In most countries, however, spending appropriations are only made on an annual basis, through the budget law.

A third concept, used in some countries, is a medium-term performance framework (MTPF) which is an expanded form of MTBF in which performance information, indicators. and targets are also included.

Revenue and Expenditure Forecasts

Figure 2.5.
Figure 2.5.

Forecasts and Observed Revenues (% of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.6.
Figure 2.6.

Forecasts and Observed Spending (%of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: the SHCP

53. Mexico’s current procedures for preparing the budget include some features of an MTBF, but there are also substantial gaps compared to the models used in advanced countries and some emerging markets. Key features of an advanced MTBF that are currently lacking in Mexico include expenditure ceilings for the three out-years of the MTBF; an integrated process for preparing the annual budget and the MTBF; separations of the cost of existing policies (spending baselines) and new policy proposals; a process for making reliable forward estimates of spending over the medium term; the use of planning margins or planning reserves in allocating resources; and carrying forward defined categories of spending (e.g., capital investment) from one fiscal year to the next (see Table 2.3).

Table 2.3.

MTBF: Differences Between Practices in Mexico and Advanced Model

article image
Source: FAD staff

Some advanced countries have adopted a fixed framework for the MTBF, i.e., one that is only changed at the end of the 3-4-year period.

Some advanced countries have binding ceilings for the out-years, e.g., Sweden, U.K. (partially).

2.1.4 Investment projects

Good

54. The annual budget proposal includes the total cost of all multi-annual investment projects. For each budget entity, a list of investment projects is shown with the following information: (i) an estimate of total project costs which is updated annually; (ii) cumulative actual spending on the project during the period of construction; (iii) the appropriation for the upcoming budget year; and (iv) estimated remaining project costs after the budget year. Operational and maintenance costs are not included in the estimate of a project’s total investment cost. The budget documentation also includes information on multi-annual commitments for which the authorization by the Congress is sought.

55. The share of public investment to GDP in Mexico has been relatively low since 2000s compared to both emerging market economies and countries in Latin America and Caribbean (see Figure 2.7 and 2.8). At the end of 1990s, annual public investment dropped significantly and reached the low level of 3.4 percent of GDP in 2015. In the last few years public investment has been compressed further to achieve the deficit target set under the government’s fiscal consolidation plan (see Section 2.3.1). The overall level of public investment is projected to fall to 2.6 percent of GDP in 201851.

Public Investment

Figure 2.7.
Figure 2.7.

Public Investment in Mexico Compared to Emerging Market Economies (2011 PPP$ Adjusted, % of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.8.
Figure 2.8.

Public Investment in Mexico Compared to Latin America and Caribbean (2011 PPP$ Adjusted, % of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: IMF PIMA database

56. All public investment projects are subject to a cost-benefit analysis or cost-effectiveness analysis52, which is made public before a project is approved. The Budget and Fiscal Responsibility Law (BFRL) includes provisions regarding public investment management (Articles 32 and 34).53 The SHCP has also issued numerous guidelines on public investment management, including on the preparation and presentation of cost-benefit analysis, which may take different forms depending on the type of project and its size. The Investment Unit in the SHCP carries out a validation of the project documentation and the cost-benefit analysis, before registering the projects in the database. The cost-benefit analysis for all projects—approved and in the pipeline—is published on the SHCP’s website54 along with other project-related information.

57. Legislation requires major projects to be tendered competitively. Under the procurement law and public works law55, the Ministry of Public Administration is responsible for the management and oversight of public procurement. The procurement and public works regulations provide for exceptions to public bidding for investment projects below a threshold,56 as well as certain exceptions are also included in the law. All information regarding individual projects and procurements processes are available on two web portals – Transparency Portal and CompraNet.

58. The law and regulations define an open and competitive tender as a preferred method. However, the regulations also provide for many exemptions.57 The agencies need to demonstrate that exceptions will ensure the best contracting conditions and administrative liability procedures are in place for deviating from the rules.58 Overall, about 70 percent of the total amount contracted in 2016 and 2017 was through public tenders, while 30 percent were contracted by direct awards and/or restricted tenders (Table 2.4). Audits conducted by the Mexican Supreme Audit Institution (Auditoría Superior de la Federación) show that some major projects were contracted through exceptions to public tenders (which is allowed by Mexican Regulations regarding public procurement); that not all contracts are registered in the CompraNet web portal;59 that there are cases where tenders are split in order to avoid the open procurement procedure; and that there are cases where exemptions are used inappropriately to allow restricted tenders or direct award instead of public tender.60

Table 2.4.

Total Number and Value of Contracts Above the Maximum Threshold

article image
Source: Compranet and Annual Budget Decrees.

2.2. Orderliness

2.2.1 Fiscal Legislation

Advanced

59. The legal framework for budgeting and fiscal management in Mexico is comprehensive and clear. The Constitution includes several articles on public finance and the budget process, and a definition of the role of the executive branch and the Chamber of Deputies in approving the annual budget (notably Articles 73 and 74). The Constitution is supplemented by several laws and regulations on public finance and budgeting, notably the Budget and Fiscal Responsibility Law (BFRL, 2006, revised 2015), the General Accounting Law (2008), as well as laws on public debt management and public procurement. This framework covers all aspects of budgeting, fiscal transparency, and fiscal reporting, as well as many aspects of fiscal risk management, including PPPs for example.

60. The legal framework sets out inter alia a clear timetable for budget preparation and approval, which has been regularly complied with in recent years (see Section 2.2.2). It also defines the key content requirements of the budget, the role of the SHCP and the President61, and the powers of the Chamber of Deputies’ to make amendments to the draft budget.62 In law, the power of the Chamber to amend the budget are unlimited. But in practice, the Chamber is constrained by several factors: (i) it cannot deny funding for expenditures that the executive is legally or constitutionally compelled to make, such as federal transfers and entitlement spending; (ii) it can increase expenditures only if additional sources of financing are identified; and (iii) it must comply with the fiscal targets and rules set out in the BFRL (see Section 2.3.1). However, the Congress also approves a revenue law prior its deliberations on the expenditure budget, and generally increases the (typically conservative) revenue estimates submitted by the government to create space for additional spending. Amendments made by the Chamber of Deputies to the draft budget in recent years have averaged around 4-5 percent of the approved budget, and have been focused mainly on investment projects, and environmental and social programs. As a quid pro quo, the executive has full authority to make in-year adjustments to the budget allocations, without the approval of Congress (see Section 2.4.2).

2.2.2 Timeliness of Budget Documents

Advanced

61. The legal framework includes specific deadlines on the preparation and approval of the budget that have been fully respected in recent years. As shown in Table 2.5, the draft budget must be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies in early September, nearly four months before the start of the fiscal year, and must be approved and published by November 15. These statutory deadlines have been complied with without exception in recent years. The budgets for 2016, 2017, and 2018 were approved by the Chamber between November 11 and November 13 in the previous year; and were published between November 27 and November 30. The revenue budgets were submitted on September 8, and approved between October 26-29 in each of these years.

62. The main forum for budget analysis and debate in the Chamber is the all-party Budget Committee. The budget is reviewed by the Chamber of Deputies’ sectoral committees, which submit proposals for amendments to the Budget Committee, before the budget is debated and approved by the whole Chamber in plenary session. The Budget Committee invite targeted sub-groups to their hearings on the budget and take evidence from a variety of sources, such as academic institutions, business and civil society groups (see Section 2.3.3), representatives of line ministries and sub-national governments. Consultations with the SHCP take place throughout Chamber’s deliberations. The draft budget is also reviewed by the Center for Public Finance Studies (CEFP), a technical advisory body attached to the Chamber of Deputies (see Section 2.4.1).

Table 2.5.

Calendar for Submission and Approval of the Budget

article image
Source. SHCP, FAD staff

2.3. Policy Orientation

2.3.1 Fiscal Policy Objectives

Advanced

63. The framework of fiscal policy objectives and fiscal rules in Mexico is precise and clear. It has evolved since the mid-2000s. The BFRL, enacted in 2006, aimed at locking in the low fiscal deficits that characterized fiscal performance prior to the Mexico’s economic crisis in the mid-1990s. It did so by introducing a zero-balance target on the fiscal deficit.

64. Important modifications were made to the fiscal rule in 2014, to support the government’s newly-established Fiscal Consolidation Plan, which set a target of reducing the budget balance to zero by 2017 (later amended to 2018). These amendments to the BFRL added two additional fiscal rules to the existing deficit rule, which was retained: (i) the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) was introduced as a target to limit the pro-cyclicality of the deficit rule, though a specific ceiling for the PSBR is not specified; and (ii) a cap on the real rate of growth of structural current spending,63 equal to potential output growth which is currently estimated at 2.5 percent a year, was also introduced. Another change was to allow up to 2 percent of capital investment by PEMEX, CFE, and other “high impact” economic and social investment to be discounted from the budget balance rule. In addition, the amendments changed the way oil revenues are managed. Starting in 2015, a new sovereign wealth fund, the Mexican Oil Fund, manages all hydrocarbon-related wealth, which should help better insulate public spending from transitory fluctuations in oil revenues (see Section 4.4).

65. Article 17 of the BFRL allows for ex ante deviations from the fiscal balance rule under exceptional circumstances. The regulations to this law (Article 11) include five specific triggers which are related to exceptional changes in economic circumstances, a revenue shock, or natural disasters.64 These regulations also allow the deficit to be increased if the government introduces a new policy which incurs short-term fiscal costs but which yields net fiscal benefits over the long-term. The provisions have only been triggered once, in 2014, following a sharp decline in the economy.

66. Procedures for reporting on compliance with pre-defined fiscal targets and objectives are reasonably well developed. The SHCP’s General Economic Policy Criteria (GEPC) report, published in September when the budget is submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, includes sections on prospects for public finances in the short term and medium term, and a discussion of the government’s compliance with the Fiscal Consolidation Plan, and with the fiscal rules noted above. A similar assessment is provided in the Pre- Criteria Report published each April (though this document focuses only on the forthcoming fiscal year).65 The quarterly reports on budget execution include a summarized assessment of fiscal policy and note any adjustments in budget allocations that have made to support the government’s fiscal consolidation policies. In addition, the government publishes monthly and in the SHCP’s quarterly reports information on 12 fiscal indicators66 that provide a broad picture of developments in public finance. A simplified presentation of public finance trends and developments is also published in the Citizen’s Guide to the Budget (see Section 2.3.3).

67. The authorities could consider developing its Pre-Criteria Report into a medium-term fiscal strategy report, issued early in the budget cycle. Such a report would include a full discussion of fiscal policy objectives and targets, in the medium-term context, together with an assessment of compliance with the fiscal rules, the need for further fiscal consolidation, and the sustainability of public finances. Many advanced countries and emerging markets publish similar reports. In some countries, the fiscal strategy document is discussed with the cabinet and the legislature, thus helping to align expectations on the need for further fiscal consolidation. It can also be used to set preliminary ceilings for spending at the sectoral and ministerial level, thus providing a bridge to the detailed expenditure allocations proposed in the draft budget law.

2.3.2 Performance Information

Advanced

68. A comprehensive performance information system has been established at the federal level in Mexico. The system includes extensive data on the inputs, outputs, and outcomes of government spending programs, procedures for analyzing and monitoring this information, as well as a framework for evaluating programs and projects. The fully-automated system was designed and is managed by a dedicated unit in the SHCP, with support from the National Evaluation Council for Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) on social development programs67. Much of the information is published on the SHCP’s Transparency Portal.68

69. The design of the performance information system follows closely the structure of sectors, ministries, and programs that is laid down in Mexico’s National Development Plan and the associated sectoral plans. This design is based largely on the programmatic structure of the budget, which currently includes 658 programs at the federal level. About 100 of these programs relate to social development and are overseen by CONEVAL. Nearly 5,000 performance indicators have been defined, of which 2,000 are “strategic” and outcome-based, while the remainder are output-based. Targets are set for most of the indicators, some for a single year, others (including most of the strategic indicators) for several years. The number of performance indicators and targets is greatly in excess of those used in other OECD countries: for example, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the federal government of the U.S.A., which take a more strategic approach to performance budgeting, whereas Mexico takes both the strategic and operational approaches.

70. The budget documentation includes an annex with details of performance indicators and targets for all the 658 programs covered by the system. Summary information is also included in the SHCP’s quarterly reports on budget execution. The SHCP has developed a “traffic lights” system which assesses and monitors both the quality and relevance of the indicators included in the system, and the progress made by spending entities in meeting their performance targets. Performance information, however, is used to only a limited extent in the policy-making process. A recent World Bank study concluded that there is little evidence that performance information is directly linked to the budget cycle, and that the use or performance information and performance evaluations varies considerably from one ministry to another.69

2.3.3 Public participation

Good

71. Mexico has adopted several laws aimed at improving transparency and public participation the preparation of the budget.70 These laws require more budgetary and fiscal information to be published by the government, and established two new vehicles for the public disseminating of such information—the Citizen’s Guide to the Budget, and the Transparency Portal.

72. The Citizen’s Guide to the Budget has been published every year since 2010. It provides an accessible description of (i) recent fiscal performance and economic prospects; (ii) the main budgetary revenues and expenditures; and (iii) the impact of the budget on the typical citizen. The focus of the guide is driven by the reforms undertaken by the government. For example, in 2014, the Guide focused heavily on the government’s tax reform and its implications for citizens. The Guide does not usually provide an assessment of the implications of the budget for different demographic groups—for example, programs aimed at the poor and vulnerable, food insecurity, or regional imbalances—but such information is provided in the Transparency Portal. Separate issues of the Citizen’s Guide cover the Federal Budget Proposal, the Annual Financial Statements and, from 2018, the SHCP’s quarterly reports. Since 2018, the Guides are published only on SHCP’s website. The SHCP has also developed jointly with civil society organizations a four-week online course on “How to Understand the Budget”.

73. The Transparency Portal (Transparencia Presupuestaria) was launched in July 2011. The portal was the government’s response to the increasing demands of citizens and civil society organizations to have a more transparent and effective system of public budgeting. In its first year of operation, the portal had 34,500 visits, but usage increased to nearly 900,000 visits in 2017. The Performance Evaluation Unit in the SHCP plays a key role in increasing the quantity and quality of budget information made widely available on the portal.

74. The authorities provide the public with relatively limited opportunities to engage in the budget preparation and execution process. Some ministries invite the public to send their opinions through the print media or websites on proposals for new policies or programs, and conduct surveys to assess citizens’ satisfaction with the implementation of the policies.71 Civil society organizations also participate in sector planning discussions led by sectors or line ministries, but the engagement varies by sector. The Congress also seeks views of the public on the annual budget proposals (see Section 2.2.2), but there is no formal requirement for such consultations, and public hearings are often targeted at certain lobby groups and are not open to the wider public. The plenary sessions of the Congress are broadcast live on the TV. The moderate level of public engagement in budgetary issues is reflected in Mexico’s score of 44 out of 100 in the 2016 version of the World Bank’s Voice and Accountability Index, and its score of 39 out of 100 in the 2017 OBI index of public participation (Figure 2.9).72

Figure 2.9.
Figure 2.9.

OBI Index on Public Participation, 2017

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: OBI database

2.4. Credibility

2.4.1 Independent evaluation

Not Met

75. The SHCP’s two main reports on economic and fiscal policy,73 published in April and September each year, provide little information on the views of other forecasters on economic developments, or their economic and fiscal projections. In preparing its macro-fiscal forecasts, the SHCP, takes account of the forecasts prepared by organizations such as the Bank of Mexico, Blue Chip, the IMF, and the World Bank, and holds meetings with the chief economists of rating agencies, research institutes, and major domestic banks. The SHCP also attends quarterly meetings of the Financial Stability Committee at the Bank of Mexico which discusses fiscal risks and the economic outlook. However, reports published by the SHCP include virtually no information on these alternative assessments and forecasts. Such comparisons could improve the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts, and reduce the variability in the short- and medium-term projections of revenue and expenditure (see Section 2.1.2).

76. The SHCP’s macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts are analyzed by the Center for Public Finance Studies (CEFP), which is a technical support unit attached to the Chamber of Deputies. A similar unit—the Belasario Dominguez Institute (BDI)—provides support to the Senate. The CEFP has a legal base in the FRBL, and is independent of the executive.74 The Congress is responsible for the appointment of the Director of the CEFP and approving the Centre’s annual work program. The Center analyzes the documents that are part of the executive’s annual budget proposal, as well as the quarterly reports and annual reports presented by the executive. In addition, it prepares estimates of the budgetary impact of proposed legislation, and publishes studies on topics in public finance, a monthly news bulletin and its own Journal of Public Finance.

77. While the CEFP and BDI analyze the executive’s economic and fiscal forecasts, they do not assess the credibility of these forecasts.75 Nor do they review the government’s performance in achieving its fiscal objectives and targets, or its compliance with the fiscal rules set out in the FRBL. Nevertheless, the CEFP and BDI play a useful role in synthesizing and simplifying the information on public finance that is presented to the Congress and Senate, as well informing the public, since the notes and studies prepared by these two entities are published on their websites. In addition, another independent oversight entity, the federal audit agency (ASF) provides in its annual report a formal assessment of the government’s fiscal performance and its compliance with the fiscal targets/rules in their annual report.

2.4.2 Supplementary budget

Basic

78. Legal framework allows the executive to spend more than the approved budget and then report to the Chamber of Deputies. Both the quarterly reports and the annual financial statements provide information on the main changes, but no ex-ante or ex-post approval by the legislature is required. The FBRL sets out the following rules and procedures that govern in-year changes to the budget:

  • Article 19 establishes that the SHCP can authorize additional expenditures if there is a surplus of revenues. The SHCP must inform the Chamber of Deputies in its quarterly reports and annual financial statements.

  • Article 19 provides how the excess revenues should be allocated.76 The provisions are fairly complex.

  • Article 21 notes the rules of budgetary discipline that the executive must apply when the revenues foreseen in the Revenue Law decrease. Although these provisions reduce the discretion of the executive to adjust spending, they do not indicate that the approval of the legislature is required to implement any cuts in expenditure.

  • Article 58 establishes that the executive may make budget adjustments provided they comply with the government’s policy objectives and programs.

79. The executive has considerable discretion to modify the expenditure allocations initially approved by the Chamber of Deputies. Over the past decade, the executed budget has been on average 7 percent higher than the approved budget (Figure 2.10 and 2.11). In all the last ten years the budget outturn has been above the approved budget. In most years, this additional expenditure has been financed by higher than expected revenues (Figure 2.12).

Revisions to the Approved Budget, 2008-2017

Figure 2.10.
Figure 2.10.

Approved vs Actual Expenditures (%, 2008-2017)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.11.
Figure 2.11.

Approved vs Actual Revenues (%, 2008-2017)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Figure 2.12.
Figure 2.12.

Revenue and Expenditure Outturns (%, 2008-2017)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: SHCP data

2.4.3 Forecast reconciliation

Not met

80. The budget documentation does not provide any analysis of the differences between successive vintages of macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts.77 The GEPC as well as the SHPC’s quarterly reports provide some assessment of why the forecasts of revenue, expenditure and financing included in the previous budgets have deviated from the outturns. However, this analysis does not discuss whether the deviations are related to changes in fiscal policy, variations in macroeconomic conditions, policy changes, or other factors, even when in some cases the differences are considerable (see Sections 2.1.2 and 2.4.2). Including a reconciliation table in budget documents, together with an analysis and explanation of deviations would substantially increase the credibility of the forecasts that underpin the budget.

81. Observed changes can be broadly decomposed into macroeconomic factors, changes in volume and case-load, the impact of discretionary policies, and classification changes. The reconciliation table would:

  • Begin with the previous year’s medium-term macroeconomic forecast;

  • Adjust for any accounting or classification changes;

  • Identify the impact of changes in the baseline macroeconomic forecast, due to variations in economic and demographic parameters;

  • Identify the fiscal impact of changes in law or policy decisions taken over the past year, and in the measures included in the budget; and

  • Present the latest macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts.

2.5. Conclusions and Recommendations

82. Mexico’s fiscal forecasting and budgeting practices meet good or advanced practices under most of the principles, and compare favorably with the country’s peers and some advanced countries. Only two principals were not met. The assessment highlights several strengths of fiscal forecasting and budgeting practices in Mexico:

  • The legal framework is comprehensive though complex, and the budget documentation is also comprehensive and timely.

  • The timetable for the submission and approval of budget documents to the Congress is closely observed.

  • The fiscal policy framework is securely anchored in a fiscal consolidation plan and three fiscal rules that have been in place since 2014 are adhered to, though pressures for further fiscal consolidation in coming years may put the rules under strain.

  • The performance information and evaluation system is well developed, though it comprises about 5,000 performance indicators, and could be better linked to the budget preparation process.

  • The system for managing investment projects is generally transparent, but many contracts are not tendered openly and competitively.

  • The government publishes a Citizen’s Guide to the Budget and maintains an informative Transparency Portal, but the process of holding public hearings on budget issues is less developed.

83. There are also some areas where fiscal transparency in Mexico could be improved. The coverage of the budget includes many off-budget funds, social security funds, parastatal organizations, non-financial public corporations and development banks, and earmarked revenues. Few elements of a modern medium-term budget framework have been put in place. The Congress does not have to approve proposals by the government for in-year adjustments to the budget, though these changes are substantial (on average, around 7 percent of the approved budget). Macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts are prepared, but focus mainly on one year ahead, and are subject to substantial deviations compared to outturns. There is a tendency for published forecasts to overestimate GDP growth (since 2013) and inflation, and to underestimate the growth of revenues and expenditure. Mechanisms for the independent evaluation of macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, or for validating that the government is complying with its fiscal targets and fiscal rules, have not been developed. No information is currently published on the reconciliation of current forecasts with previous vintages.

84. There are two main recommendations under this pillar of the Code:

  • Recommendation 2.1: The SHCP should strengthen the medium-term fiscal framework and the medium-term budget framework. This reform would significantly strengthen the government’s ability to plan public expenditure over the medium term. It includes several elements the implementation of which could be phased over a period of 2-3 years. These elements include:

    • Develop SHCP’s “Pre-Criteria” report into an annual fiscal strategy statement, with a medium-term perspective, that would provide a robust framework for preparing the budget. The statement would provide a review of the government’s fiscal performance over the past year, discuss challenges in meeting its fiscal consolidation targets, and include projections of fiscal developments on alternative scenarios.

    • Establish a process for separating the cost of new policy proposals from the underlying baselines of spending programs, and for making reliable forward estimates of spending, by administrative unit and program, over the medium term.

    • Set indicative ceilings for spending ministries and programs over the medium term. The ceilings would be rolled forward each year, with the new budget.

    • Adjust the presentation of the budget documents to show medium-term projections of spending on the same (or slightly reduced) level of detail as the annual budget.

    • Reconsider the use of performance indicators to strengthen their traction on the budget process, e.g., by focusing on a small sub-set of key indicators for each sector, ministry, or program.

  • Recommendation 2.2: Establish stronger mechanisms for the independent validation of the government’s macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, and compliance with fiscal targets and rules. Several countries have attempted to deal with this issue by establishing an independent fiscal council, but this route depends on each country’s specific political economy context. Other options might include:

    • Publishing information on the macroeconomic forecasts of other organizations (the Bank of Mexico, universities and research institutes, the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank, etc.) in the budget documents, and the Pre-Criteria report.

    • Establishing a committee of key stakeholders—the Bank of Mexico, the CEFP, the ASF, selected research institutes—that would meet twice a year, in March/April and August/September—to discuss the SHCP’s forecasts of macroeconomic and fiscal developments. The minutes of these meetings and any decisions of the government arising from them would be published.

    • Mandating the ASF to provide each quarter a formal assessment of the government’s fiscal performance in that quarter and its compliance with the fiscal targets/rules.

85. The report also notes two smaller recommendations for the SHCP to consider: (i) publishing comprehensive information in the budget documents on financial transactions conducted by the approximately 246 federal trust funds; and (ii) publishing information in the budget documents on the reconciliation of different vintages of macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts.

Table 2.6 summarizes the assessment against the principles of the Code.

Table 2.6

Summary Assessment of Fiscal Forecasting and Budgeting

article image

III. FISCAL RISKS ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT

Governments should disclose, analyze, and manage risks to the public finances and ensure effective coordination of fiscal decision-making across the public sector.

86. This chapter assesses the adequacy of Mexico’s analysis, reporting, and management of fiscal risks against the practices of the FTC. The focus of this pillar is the exposure of the central government to the possibility of shocks to fiscal variables from the rest of the public sector, the domestic private sector, or the international environment. In addition, the chapter covers long-term fiscal sustainability. Fiscal risks include explicit fiscal risks—legal obligations or firm commitments to provide fiscal support under specific circumstances and conditions—as well as implicit risks, where there is no legal obligation on the government but an expectation that the government will provide fiscal support. Risks are assessed in three dimensions:

  1. General arrangements for disclosure and analysis of macroeconomic and specific fiscal risks;

  2. Risks emanating from specific sources such as government assets, liabilities, guarantees, the financial sector, or public-private partnerships (PPPs); and

  3. Coordination of fiscal decision-making between the central government, subnational governments, and public corporations.

Table 3.1 lists key government reports in Mexico that provide information on fiscal risks.

Table 3.1.

Mexico: Selected Reports Relating to Fiscal Risk

article image
article image

3.1 Risk Disclosure and Analysis

3.1.1 Macroeconomic Risks

Basic

87. Mexico has a moderately volatile economy. The volatility of nominal GDP in 2003-16 was close to average compared to other G-20 countries and selected Latin American countries. It was lower than in most G-20 emerging market economies, but higher than in the group’s advanced economies (Figure 3.1). Over that period, there were two years when the rate of growth of nominal GDP was lower by more than one standard deviation than the average.

Figure 3.1.
Figure 3.1.

Indicators of Macro-Fiscal Risk, 2013-2016 G-20 and Selected Latin American Countries (Percent)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook database, October 2017; and IMF staff calculations.

88. The substantial volatility of oil revenues in Mexico has been dampened by the negative correlation between oil and non-oil revenues. Revenue volatility in Mexico is somewhat higher that in G-20 advanced economies and some emerging market economies. (Figure 3.1). The share of oil revenues in total revenues was about a third on average in 2003-16, and the volatility of oil revenue in real terms was close to three times the volatility of non-oil revenue. The volatility of total revenue, however, was dampened by a strong negative association between changes in oil revenue and in non-oil revenue (Figure 3.2). In particular, during periods of falling oil revenues, non-oil revenues mostly recorded well above average growth. In addition, the hedging of oil price risks reduced to some extent the volatility of total revenue.

Figure 3.2.
Figure 3.2.

Mexico: Oil and Non-Oil Revenue, 2003-2016 (Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: SHCP; and IMF staff calculations.Note: In Figure 3.3, consolidated federal public sector revenues, national definition

89. The SHCP identified the main risks surrounding its medium-term macrofiscal projections in the 2018 budget. Foremost among those risks were an unfavorable result in the renegotiation of NAFTA, lower U.S. economic growth than projected, a deterioration in international financial markets, and lower oil prices and production than expected.

90. The authorities publish a basic level of macroeconomic risk analysis, with small changes in variables to elicit sensitivities. In the Criterios Generales de Política Económica (General Criteria for Economic Policy) that accompany the annual budget, SHCP publishes, alongside its central six-year macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, an analysis of the sensitivities of public sector revenue and expenditure to changes to five key variables—growth, oil prices and volumes, the exchange rate, and interest rates (Table 3.2). The sensitivities are assessed only for the budget year. The changes assumed in the variables to elicit the sensitivities are relatively small and are considered separately. For example, the assumed ½ percentage point difference in GDP growth compares to a standard deviation of real growth of close to 2½ percentage points in 2003-16. Over the period 1971-2016, the annual absolute percent change in the international oil price reported in the IMF’s WEO was higher in 9 out of 10 years than the 2 percent change used in the sensitivity analysis. 78 The analysis looks at the impact of each change on revenue and/or expenditure in isolation, and does not present the fiscal implications of these changes at a more disaggregated level.

Table 3.2

Sensitivity Analysis of Public Sector Revenue and Expenditure in Budget Documentation

article image
Source: SHCP, Criterios Generales for 2018.

91. SHCP also publishes a stochastic projection of the net public debt in the medium term. The Plan Anual de Financiamiento (Annual Financing Plan, PAF) includes simulated distributions of future debt outcomes for the next 6 years around the baseline scenario (Figure 3.3). Scenarios for the macroeconomic variables that have a bearing on the evolution of the debt are generated from stochastic shocks, and a fan chart shows the evolution of the predictive densities of the public debt in percent of GDP.

Figure 3.3.
Figure 3.3.

Mexico: Evolution of Predictive Densities of Net Public Debt (SHCP Estimates, Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

92. The sensitivity of the interest costs of the public debt to interest rates, exchange rates, and refinancing risks in the coming fiscal year is analyzed. The PAF presents separate Cost-at-Risk (CaR) analyses for the interest on the debt denominated in domestic currency, and on the debt denominated in foreign currency. Parametric and non-parametric methods are used; they yield broadly similar results. The CaR of the total public debt is estimated with a non-parametric method based on past observations of interest rates and exchange rates.

93. Uncertainties associated with revenues from oil and gas generate significant short- and medium-term fiscal risks. These risks are mainly associated with the impact of the volatility of oil prices and production on the government’s cash flow. The volatility of the annual price of the Mexican basket of crudes in 1999-2016 (measured by the standard deviation of percentage change) was 31 percent. Oil production in 2017, at 2 mbd, was about a third lower than ten years earlier, with some volatility in the rate of decline (Figure 3.4). Reflecting these and other developments, fiscal oil revenue over the period fluctuated between 3½ percent of GDP and 10½ percent of GDP.

Figure 3.4.
Figure 3.4.

Mexico: Crude Oil Production, 2005-2017 (Million barrels a day)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: CNH, SENER.

94. The oil hedging program has been an important element of short-term macroeconomic risk mitigation. The program aims at hedging the exposure of the central government to oil price volatility risks in the coming year (Box 3.1).

Mexico’s Oil Hedging Program

Under the oil hedging program, Asian put options are bought to insure the price of oil. The period covered is from December prior to the fiscal year, to November of the fiscal year.1 The program helped cushion to some extent the fiscal impact of large declines in oil prices. It yielded revenues of 0.5 percent of GDP in 2009, 0.6 percent in 2015, and 0.3 percent in 2016 (Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5.
Figure 3.5.

Mexico: Cash Flow from Oil Options, 2004-2016

(Percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: SHCP; Auditoría Superior de la Federación; and IMF staff calculations.

The hedging strategy is decided by a Technical Committee chaired by the SHCP. The strategy involves the determination of the volume of oil to be covered and the options strike price. A range of 210-250 million barrels of oil a year was hedged during 2010-17, reflecting approximately the volume difference between exports and imports. The strike price has been broadly consistent with the oil price assumed in the budget for each year (see Section 4.4.1). On occasion, given market conditions, the strike price has been a few dollars per barrel lower than the budget oil price—the difference being covered, if needed, by the Fondo de

Estabilización de los Ingresos Presupuestarios (Budget Revenue Stabilization Fund, FEIP). Thus, the government has guaranteed a minimum average price of oil for the volume insured for a whole year.

The options strategy is implemented by the FEIP. This extrabudgetary fund replaced the earlier Fondo de Estabilización de los Ingresos Petroleros (Oil Revenue Stabilization Fund) in 2015. The cost of the options has been funded from resources available in the fund, and additional budget transfers if needed. If the options are exercised, FEIP transfers the proceeds to the Federal Government.

Public information on the oil hedging program is available. Press releases, including at the time of submission of the budget to Congress, inform the volume, strike price, type of hedging modalities, and the cost of the program. Information is also provided if the options are exercised. The quarterly reports on the public finances provide updated information on the actual oil price relative to the strike price. Historic information on the oil hedging program is available from the Auditoría Superior de la Federación (Supreme Audit of the Federation, ASF). Audit reports on the FEIP provide information on the hedging operations, including the cost of the hedges, the oil volumes hedged by category of crude, the strike prices and the actual prices, and the receipts from the hedges, if any. Information can also be requested from the SHCP’s Transparency Portal.

Source: SHCP and ASF.1 Asian put options are exercised if the average spot price for a pre-specified period is higher than the strike price.

3.1.2 Specific Fiscal Risks

Basic

95. Several specific fiscal risks are disclosed, though the disclosure is not comprehensive, and the relationship of these risks to the fiscal forecasts is unclear. In Mexico, there are several sources of specific risks (see Table 3.3 for quantification of some specific risks based on information provided by the authorities). The GCEP includes a section on fiscal risks, but this falls short of a comprehensive Fiscal Risk Statement.79 The most recent edition of the report discusses, in addition to macroeconomic risks, specific fiscal risks stemming from pensions, the health sector, the banking sector and development banks, and actions taken to mitigate the risk of natural disasters. However, many sources of risk are not discussed, including those arising from subnational governments, public corporations, government guarantees, natural disasters costs, lawsuits brought by and against the government, the quality of financial and non-financial assets and associated risks, and contingent liabilities related to PPPs. When risks are discussed, it is sometimes unclear how they might affect the achievement of the fiscal target and the forecasts for the following years. In addition, the report does not address the fact that many specific risks are positively correlated—for example, during periods of low economic growth, the probability of failures of financial institutions and state-owned enterprises including development banks, increases. There is currently no unit in the SHCP that is responsible for consolidating information on specific fiscal risks and analyzing their fiscal implications.

Table 3.3.

Mexico: Selected Specific Fiscal Risks of the Central Government

article image
Source: Mexican authorities and FAD staff estimates.

Includes two different types of granted guarantees to development banks: (1) 325 billion MXN, and (2) 890 MXN

Source: Information submitted by USPSS. This contingent liability only relates to federal and sub-national infrastructure. Gross exposure is an estimate for 5 key sectors of the average annual loss, including earthquakes, wind, and flood damage. The cost of 50 billion MXN relates to claims for FONDEN, which protects more than 5 sectors and at least 18 risks (e.g., geological and hydro-meteorological risks).

This figure includes: FARAC/FONADIN and development banks.

3.1.3 Long Term Fiscal Sustainability Analysis

Not Met

96. There is no information on the long-term sustainability of public finances and the projected evolution of overall net worth in budget documents. As discussed above, projections for the fiscal accounts are only presented for the next fiscal year and the following five years. Budget documentation provides some information on the prospective age structure of the population and on pension liabilities (in Criterios Generales), and there are long-term projections for the public sector social security systems. The lack of a long-term fiscal outlook hampers informed consideration of what is expected to happen to the overall public finances in the face of growing challenges discussed in Box 3.2.

Long-Term Pressures on the Public Finances

Mexico faces growing demographic pressures that warrant adequate fiscal planning.80 The median age reached 28 years in 2015 and is expected to rise to 42 years by 2050. The population that reaches retirement age is growing faster than the rest of the population. The share of the population aged 65 or older is projected to increase from 6 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2030. As a consequence of aging, the population is expected to start declining in 2065. These demographic changes have important implications for the pension and healthcare systems.

The public sector faces pressures arising from the pension systems of public sector workers. The social security institutions for public workers, as well as PEMEX and the CFE, regularly produce actuarial estimates of future pension liabilities. The government has estimated the actuarial value of public sector pension liabilities—considering the ISSSTE and the special regimes—at 46.9 percent of GDP in 2016. This amount does not include liabilities of subnational pension systems. Actuarial calculations for IMSS-PAYGO are not available.

Healthcare costs are also expected to come under growing stress. The government expects health spending to increase as a result of aging population, the transition to protracted and costly chronic diseases, and increases in medical costs regardless of the disease treated. Based on demographic developments and rising expectations about the quality of healthcare, public healthcare spending is projected to rise significantly in the coming decades from 3.3 percent of GDP in 2015 to 8.7 percent by 2065.

Reliance on a finite resource like petroleum generates long-term fiscal sustainability risks. The potential exhaustion of the oil and gas reserves in the coming decades poses long-term fiscal challenges. The oil reserve/production ratio (R/P) at end-2016 was estimated at only nine years for proven reserves, and 16 years for proven and probable reserves (see Section 3.2.6).81 In addition, the long-term risk of obsolescence is rising. While considerable uncertainty surrounds the future path of reserve replacement and production, as petroleum reserves are depleted there will be a need to design sustainable long-term fiscal strategies that allow a smooth transition to the post-oil era.

Source: SHCP, CNH, and IMF staff.

97. Long-term policymaking should be concerned with strategies and potential responses to changing economic circumstances. It would be important to develop long-term fiscal projections because of the prospect of rising pension and health expenditures and the possible depletion of petroleum reserves in the next few decades. Such an analysis would give policymakers a better sense of the fiscal challenges that lie ahead. It would also promote the discussion of long-term strategies and policies to soften the future pressures on the public finances.

3.2 Risk Management

3.2.1 Budgetary contingencies

Advanced

98. The budget includes an adequate and transparent allocation for contingencies82 that arise during the execution of the annual budget. The most significant provision is a line item in the budget for natural disaster relief, usually representing about 0.4 percent of the budget for programmable expenditure, with some variation from year to year. This contingency reserve complements Mexico’s Natural Disaster Relief Fund and the government’s access to the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI) Program (see Section 3.2.6).

99. Access to the contingency reserve for natural disasters is based on transparent criteria and operating rules, using a decision-making process managed by the Ministry of the Interior. The SHCP’s quarterly reports on budget execution include information on withdrawals from the reserve. A smaller reserve fund has been established to make transfers to subnational government related to natural disasters and other emergencies.83 The SHCP confirmed that these reserves have been fully adequate in recent years. The substantial powers of the SHCP to make in-year adjustments to ministries’ budgetary allocations, as required, without the need to table a supplementary budget with the Chamber of Deputies (see Section 2.4.2) obviate the need for additional contingency provisions.

3.2.2 Management of Assets and Liabilities

Basic

100. There is a legal cap on borrowing (see Section 2.3.1).84 All public-sector borrowing, including guarantees given for borrowing, must be authorized by the Congress. Specific debt rules are also set for SNGs (see Section 3.3.1).85 In addition, the law on PPPs sets a limit on the total annual payments related to PPPs (Section 3.2.4) which must be considered before the government initiates any new PPPs.

101. Information on debt sustainability analysis and stochastic analysis of debt-related liabilities is published. The SHCP provides information on the debt structure of the central government in its Annual Financing Plan (PAF). This information includes a breakdown of internal and external debt, the currency in which debt is denominated, amortization profiles, sources of lending, maturities, servicing costs, as well as interest rate and exchange rate risk exposure. In December 2016, the gross debt of the general government was estimated at 56.8 percent of GDP excluding the T-bonds used by the central bank for monetary operations.86 The PAF presents on an annual basis the main elements of the Federal Government’s public debt policy, which aims to cover the federal government’s financing needs at the lowest possible cost, at an acceptable level of risk. Additionally, for the first time, the PAF 2018 summarizes the main elements of debt policy of other public sector entities that frequently access the debt markets. The portfolio risk analysis shows that the greater part of the federal government’s debt is denominated in pesos. Most government securities issued in the local market, and all external market debt, are fixed-rate assets. The federal government has reduced its refinancing risk by maintaining a portfolio where long-term instruments predominate.

102. The analysis of risks surrounding non-debt liabilities and financial and non-financial assets is not publicly available. In 2016, public sector financial and nonfinancial assets were valued at around 62.5 percent of GDP (see Section 1.1.2). At the same time, the financial assets of general government were worth 37.4 percent of GDP, the largest of these assets being currency and deposits at the central bank (27.3 percent of GDP). The value of the government’s assets and non-debt liabilities, and the associated cash flows can vary with inflation, interest rates, the exchange rate, and the performance of the companies the government owns or has lent to. The government does not have a policy to calculate the effects of these changes on public sector non-debt liabilities, which amounted to 70.9 percent of the GDP in 2016.

103. Substantial risks also arise on the management of the assets and liabilities relating to non-organic trust funds,87 but only limited information is published on their use. The net worth of these funds represented about 2.7 percent of GDP in 2016. Table 3.4 presents the list of non-organic trust funds classified by sector and their net worth as of December 2016, and some information is included in the SHCP’s quarterly fiscal reports, including the use of budgetary resources. Further analysis is needed to evaluate the risks associated with these funds.88

Table 3.4.

Non-Organic Trust Funds by Sector (In Million MXN)

article image
article image
Source: AuthoritiesNote: This table does not include an important Fund for stabilization of the revenues at the state level (FEIEF), which has a net worth of 30,277 million MXN at the end of 2016; and another Trust Fund responsible for infrastructure in states (FIES), which had a net worth of 2,311 million MXN at the end of 2016.

104. There is some published data on nonfinancial assets but no comprehensive and updated register of such assets. The SHCP should prepare a register of these assets and develop a strategy for managing them.

3.2.3 Guarantees

Not Met

105. Guarantees provided by the federal government are substantial, but not fully disclosed except for those related to deposit insurance, development banks and FARAC/FONADIN. At the end of 2017, the total stock of explicit recorded federal government guarantees is estimated at about 6.6 percent of GDP (see comparison of Mexico’s stock of guarantees with other selected countries in Figure 3.6). This amount includes guarantees of 256 billion MXN granted to FARAC/FONADIN; government-guaranteed debt securities issued by development banks amounting 890 billion MXN; and guarantees of mortgage securitizations and risk capital of about 325 billion MXN. The Institute for the Protection of Banking Savings (IPAB), which manages the government’s deposit insurance scheme, in principle, has substantial resources to meet its potential obligations. Any liability of the government will only arise if these resources are exhausted, but could be as high as 2,225 billion MXN, equivalent to 10.25 percent of GDP.89 The issuance of guarantees is regulated by law, but there is no statutory limit on the flow or stock of such guarantees. Moreover, there is no published information on what form these guarantees take, or a detailed list of the beneficiaries of the guarantees. The Federal government may issue guarantees to SNGs subject to certain requirements, but in practice has not done so.

Figure 3.6.

Government Guarantees in Europe and Mexico 1

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2018, 289; 10.5089/9781484379820.002.A001

Source: Eurostat, Authorities1/ Mexico’s estimate refers to 2017. For other countries, estimates refer to 2014.

3.2.4 Public-Private Partnerships

Advanced

106. The regulatory framework for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) has been strengthened over time.90 The 2012 Public-Private Partnership Law and related regulations were amended in 2016 and 2017. These changes strengthened the processes for the preparation and authorization of PPP projects, their budgetary management, and the required authorizations. A manual was recently issued to help investors analyze PPP-related risks and undertake financial analyses; and guidance has been issued to the ministries that sponsor PPPs on the economic appraisals and value-for-money tests that projects must undergo before they are accepted for financing.

107. Substantial information is published on PPP projects. Mexico has a PPP program which has been growing recently. To date, 22 PPP projects with a total value of 41.5 billion MXN have been authorized by the government, that will strengthen infrastructure in the transportation, health, safety and water sectors. The SHCP indicated that, in principle, all risks associated with PPPs are shared with the private sector, that there are no explicit guarantees, and that all PPP contracts are published and summarize the government’s right and obligations. See list of recent PPPs in Table 3.5. While the current regulations put much emphasis on the need for robust economic analysis of potential PPP projects, and their associated risks, it is not clear that the federal government has sufficient capacity to comply with these requirements. For example, in the case of the transport sector, many estimates made by the federal government in the last ten years of the volume of traffic were inaccurate, which had implications for the economic, financial and technical viability of some proposed PPP projects.91

108. There is a quantitative limit on the flow of new PPP obligations, and hence on the stock of accumulated obligations.92 The SHCP includes in the budget an estimate of the maximum annual amount of payments for PPP projects from budgetary resources that are required to meet commitments for new PPP projects that sponsoring ministries intend to initiate during the next fiscal year, or those already authorized. The current ceiling on such payments is one percent of total programmable expenditure in the budget, but may vary from year to year. The SHCP makes some projections of the budgetary impact of PPPs obligations over the medium term.

109. The transparency and accountability of PPPs have improved with the revised regulations. Information about PPPs is published by the respective sponsoring ministry, and on the SHCP’s transparency portal. Information on all approved PPP projects, as well as those under review, is also included in the SHCP’s quarterly reports submitted to the Congress. This information includes the name of the private sector counterpart, the contract term, the total investment amount, other financial data, and the schedule of payments by the government. Unsolicited PPP proposals may be accepted by the government but the regulations require that they must be linked to national policy objectives, are subject to risk analysis, and be disclosed. In addition, the annual payment commitments for PPP projects have also been disclosed for the period between 2017 and 2023 in the Criterios Generales.93 For 2018, the payment commitments for PPPs under execution and operation are estimated at 7.7 thousands of million MXN.

110. PIDIREGAS’ annual payment commitments are also disclosed in Criterios Generales for the period between 2017 and 2023. Until 2007, PEMEX and CFE could invest with off balance sheet debt under the umbrella of a project financing mechanism known as PIDIREGAS.94 This financing mechanism came to an end in December 2006, when a cap was put on PIDIREGAS debt. Following this first measure, and amid concerns over the growing debt obligations of PEMEX, the Mexican Congress, in October 2008, unanimously approved amendments to the federal budget and Fiscal Responsibility Law that limited PEMEX’s participation in the Deferred Impact Status Projects or PIDIREGAS.95 There are two types of PIDIREGAS and the government discloses estimates of annual payment obligations for both PIDIREGAS: (i) direct; (ii) and conditional.96 The government discloses estimates for direct and conditional PIDIREGAS of which the annual payments for 2018 are estimated at 71 and 92 billion of MXN respectively.

Table 3.5.

Total investment in PPPs

article image
Source: Authorities