Decentralization won't be easy

Experts warn that sending secretariats and its employees to other cities could cause more damages than benefits

Decentralization won't be easy
López Obrador plans to decentralize government offices – Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 02/08/2018 09:21 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:28
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From its name, the country shows its centralist tendency. It's true that the official name is United Mexican States, but the majority of the population doesn't use it, and even less do foreigners use it, “Mexico” is the word most used to reference our country, and it's also used to refer the capital, where its urban area takes up a fifth of the country's population, and where 20% of the total economic activity is generated.

The concentration of politic and economic power in Mexico City stopped the development of other cities for a long time. The capital was a magnet for millions of people. Just a few years ago other main cities emerged, besides Guadalajara and Monterrey, the other big Mexican cities.

The Bajío region has become a development center for the automotive industry. The aeronautics sector is taking off in Querétaro. Cancún and the Mayan Riviera are the quintessential touristic destinies in the Caribbean. In 2016, the growth rate in Aguascalientes was almost four times higher than the one registered by the country. Nevertheless, there are several states and regions that are stalled or have a low growth index.

The incoming government plans to move government departments and secretariats out of Mexico City. The measure raises some questions and doubts about its viability. Although the details haven't been revealed, it is expected to be a slow process. In 1985, after an earthquake hit the capital, the government tried to implement similar measures because some official buildings were severely damaged. Only two departments were part of the exodus: Federal Roads and Bridges moved to Cuernavaca and the Inegi to Aguascalientes.

Today, EL UNIVERSAL has published an article that shows that several cities that are set to welcome some secretariats and departments lack the necessary infrastructure to accommodate thousands of newcomers; there's another group of states that are well prepared, but with certain limitations.

Experts warn that sending secretariats and its employees to those regions, instead of having benefits, could damage them.

The centralist nature can't be denied, but taking offices to undeveloped areas doesn't guarantee economic growth; that requires additional work, part of a master plan. Nevertheless, there will be a chance for medium cities to begin a new phase towards planned growth. The explosive growth that took place in Mexico City decades ago shouldn't be repeated by other cities. There's time to do things orderly.

gm

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