Mexico to redouble austerity measures amid food crisis

May 28th, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by admin  

Mexico City, May 28 (IANS) Mexico will redouble austerity measures as part of an emergency plan to help families deal with the impact of global food crisis, EFE news agency reported Wednesday. In a nationally broadcast address Tuesday, President Felipe Calderon announced a six-point strategy to guarantee sufficient supply of food products for consumers while promoting agricultural produces and measures to augment income of the poorest section of the population.

“This will also require a great budgetary effort and my government will be the first to set an example,” Calderon said.

“We’re going to redouble austerity measures in the federal administration with the goal of continuing to provide aid for those Mexicans who most need it,” Calderon said, without giving further details about what actions would be taken to slash government spending.

He also said that this emergency plan is possible because the country has “a strong, stable economy,” and he again warned that his government will not tolerate “speculators or hoarders”.

The strategy called “Programme of Actions to Aid the Family Economy” contemplates keeping prices stable for gasoline, household gas and diesel, for which the government, Calderon said, will spend 200 billion pesos (some $19 billion) this year.

The government also proposed elimination of customs duties on imports of items like corn, rice and wheat, as well as an unlimited quantity of beans, at the best prices available.

Economic aid will also be forthcoming for 5.28 million poor families, with each receiving a subsidy of 120 pesos (some $11.30) a month.

Import duties will be reduced by 50 percent on imported powdered milk.

Loans will be provided for purchasing farm equipment and machinery, as well as for importing supplies for fowl and livestock producers, while imports of nitrogenous fertilizer will be duty free.

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