By Enrique Peña Nieto.
Four years ago, society and government set out to build a new Mexico, a Mexico of laws, built on strong and transparent institutions, a Mexico that would respond to Mexicans’ needs and concerns regarding modernity. To this end, during the first years of my administration, we took on the task of promoting and implementing a series of reforms to demolish the barriers that prevented Mexicans from achieving their true potential. To achieve this noble purpose, it was obviously also necessary to ensure the rule of law, transparency and accountability.
Doing this could no longer be postponed. According to the results of the Index of Perception of Corruption 2014, published by Transparency International, Mexico received a score of just 35 on a scale of 0 to 100; virtually the same result it has had in the past two decades. Moreover, according to the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, each year corruption in the country cost us up to 10% of GDP, 5% of the FDI received by the country, and causes the loss of 480,000 jobs.
Thanks to the new information technologies and freedom of expression, society is increasingly aware of the acts of corruption committed by public officials and private individuals. Today, Mexicans feel hurt and saddened by this scourge. As president, I am convinced of the urgency of eradicating corruption, strengthening transparency and reinforcing accountability. Therefore, the first commitment I signed as a candidate, and the first legislative proposal I promoted as president-elect, was precisely against corruption.
In an example of the democratic maturity we are achieving in our country, more than 600,000 people raised their voices, using the new legislative form of citizens' initiative for the first time in history. Their demand has been a clear and inescapable mandate: no institution or public official, regardless of the order of government to which he or she belongs, is above the law. They are all subject to accountability.
In response, over the past three years, the Mexican State as a whole has laid the foundations for fighting corruption. The new institutional pillars include the creation of the National System of Transparency and as from this week, the National Anti-Corruption System (SNA). This organization calls on all organs and institutions responsible for fighting corruption to work in a coordinated manner.
The continued involvement of civil society will be essential for the proper functioning of this system. At the federal level, the SNA will have broad powers to prevent, detect and punish corruption crimes, by promoting joint responsibility between the three powers. It will also facilitate greater coordination between federal and local authorities to monitor the proper use of public resources. In addition, states must integrate their own local systems on the basis of the provisions of the General Law of the National Anticorruption System. This ensures that the SNA will operate in a standardized manner throughout the country.
The system will promote the prevention, investigation and, where appropriate, punishment of corruption cases. It will have prevention mechanisms such as codes of ethics, action protocols and a rigorous selection of the members of the internal oversight agencies of each federal department. It will also include accountability instruments for public officials, including the obligation to submit their assets and tax declarations, and declarations of interest. What follows is to implement these institutional advances, strengthen the training of public officials and formulate the corresponding regulations. We must prove its effectiveness. Mexico fully opened the doors to democracy with the creation of the Federal Electoral Institute in the last decade of the last century. I am convinced that the impact of the SNA will be equally relevant and positive. It is a true paradigm shift, because it opens the way to a new era in public service. Mexican society has shown us what can be achieved through open, honest dialogue. It is a triumph for society and one of which all Mexicans should be proud.