Videgaray to face split Mexico Congress in implementing financial reforms

Luis Videgaray

Luis Videgaray, the right-hand man of Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s president-elect, is expected to assume a top level of government leadership and assume responsibility for driving the country’s economic reforms through a split Congress.

Pena Nieto takes office Dec. 1 and has vowed to reform taxes and increase competition in certain industries in order to achieve six percent annual growth. Videgaray is seen as having the right background with previous private sector experience, political connections and academic qualifications and is expected to be instrumental in implementing economic reforms under Pena Nieto, according to Reuters.

“It’s important to have a big reform at the start of the administration,” Videgaray said, referring to the need to demonstrate to his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI, that he can deliver on his promises, Reuters reports.

The PRI has regained power after 12 years of opposition and Videgaray faces a divided Congress. He will have to convince some segments of the party of the need for increased taxation.

After joining the PRI in 1987, when inflation rose to 132 percent, Videgaray studied law and economics alongside Jose Antonio Meade, Mexico’s finance minister, and worked in the finance ministry. Videgaray also worked briefly for investment firm Protego, which was founded by former finance minister Pedro Aspe, according to Reuters.

Videgaray worked with Pena Nieto while at Protego to restructure Mexico’s debt. After Pena Nieto was elected governor of Mexico in 2005, he named Videgaray to the position of state finance minister.

As Mexico’s finance minister, one of Videgaray’s first acts was to enforce a frequently ignored car registration tax in order to boost revenue. As a result, Mexico’s debt decreased 20 percent within four years, Reuters reports.

Mexico’s economy, which has averaged 2.6 percent annual growth for the last 20 years, is hindered by low tax rates, high income inequality, low domestic demand, oligopolies in major industries and a dependence on the U.S.

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