MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s finance ministry on Monday announced a second package of 29 infrastructure investments assembled between the government and the private sector worth some 228 billion pesos ($11.4 billion), aimed at lifting the nation’s ailing economy.
The package follows an initial 297-billion-peso raft of investments set out last month, and heralds a further thawing in often frosty relations between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and business groups.
Reuters reported last week that the investments would be in the region of $10 billion.
Finance Minister Arturo Hererra said that U.S. company Sempra Energy’s $2 billion liquefied natural gas export plant, near the northwestern port of Ensenada, was among the projects included. The proposed plant is one of the biggest privately funded energy projects in Mexico.
Sempra said earlier this month it was going ahead with the project, which has been held up while the company awaited the required government permit.
The investments are seen as positive for economic activity and the creation of much-needed jobs at a time when Mexico’s economy is forecast to shrink between 8.7% and 9.3% in 2020 due to the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, its deepest annual contraction since the Great Depression.
Carlos Salazar, head of Mexico’s Business Coordinating Council (CCE), said the investments could lead to the creation of some 400,000 new jobs. He said a third package of investments was now being worked on.
“I estimate that for the next quarter, the first three months of next year, we will return to the situation we were in before the pandemic. That is my forecast that we will be able to recover and we will begin to have greater economic growth,” Lopez Obrador said.
The central bank and private economists forecast a longer recovery to pre-pandemic levels for the economy.
($1 = 20.0683 Mexican pesos)
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito, Ana Isabel Martinez and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)