The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, speaks during a morning press conference today, at the National Palace, in Mexico City, Mexico. EFE/ Isaac EsquivelEFE/ Isaac Esquivel

Mexico estimates Hurricane Otis repairs at more than $3.4 billion

Mexico City, Nov 1 (EFE). – The Mexican government on Wednesday estimated the cost of repairs and social assistance in the southern state of Guerrero after the impact of Hurricane Otis, at 61.3 billion pesos (over 3.4 billion dollars).

This is the first official calculation by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in his morning press conference presented a 20-point recovery plan that includes 10 billion pesos (over $555 million dollars) to restore public infrastructure in Acapulco, the hardest hit city.

“The cost of the investments, which we have been working on for several days to get as close as possible, is 61.3 billion pesos that will be distributed according to the 20 points indicated by the President,” said the Secretary of the Treasury, Rogelio Ramírez de la O.

Aside from public reconstruction efforts for Acapulco, the state plans to spend the most on direct cash transfers to affected families, with each family receiving up to 60,000 pesos ($3,333).

Photograph of an area affected after the passage of Hurricane Otis, in Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero (Mexico). EFE/David Guzmán

The government will waive the payment of value-added tax (VAT) and income tax (ITR) until February, at a cost of 9.1 billion pesos ($506 million).

It will also grant a six-month extension in the payment that companies and workers make to the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Workers’ Housing Institutes (Infonavit and Fovissste), which will cost 9 billion pesos ($500 million).

For the private sector, the Ministry of Finance will support 373 hotels by paying half of the interest they contract with commercial banks, at a cost of 5 billion pesos (almost $278 million).

The government will also provide a basket of basic goods to 250,000 families for three months, allocating 3.2 billion pesos ($180.5 million), in addition to 4 billion pesos ($222.2 million) for household goods such as stoves, washing machines and other appliances.

The rest of the funds will be distributed in areas such as social programs and subsidies for electricity payments.

President López Obrador, who promised to “get Acapulco back on its feet” by Christmas, said that “there are unlimited resources when it comes to benefiting the people.”

“It is important to say that we have a budget to finance all these programs, and that we do not consider the allocation of these resources as expenses, they are an investment, and fortunately we have healthy public finances,” he said.

This is the first support plan and the first official damage estimate offered by the government of Mexico after Otis, which hit the southern coast of Guerrero last Wednesday as a category 5 after a record intensification, and left 46 dead after making landfall last week.

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