Oil and Gas

UPDATE 1-Mexico's Congress approves twice-delayed 2020 budget

(Adds details, quote from Mexican president)

MEXICO CITY, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Mexico’s lower house of Congress approved the 2020 budget in the early hours of Friday, signing off on the spending part of the package after voting was delayed twice in as many weeks.

The 6.1 trillion peso ($314.60 billion) budget prioritizes social programs as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador seeks to reduce social and regional inequality but also channels funds to security and the energy sector.

It includes a spending increase of 8.8% to heavily indebted national oil company Pemex - as well as resources for the construction of a new refinery - and a 1.4% increase for the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

Funding for autonomous bodies like the National Electoral Institute (INE), the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), the attorney general’s office and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) have all been cut.

The 2019 budget was 5.8 trillion pesos.

“With this budget we guarantee that resources are not lacking,” Lopez Obrador said during his regular morning conference on Friday. “All this without raising taxes, without creating new taxes, without indebting the country.”

Lopez Obrador said his austerity measures and fight against corruption, both key promises made during his election campaign, had resulted in more resources for development and welfare.

Lawmakers had to relocate on Thursday after farmers blocked access to Congress to protest a cut to agricultural funding which delayed the voting. The budget was eventually approved with 321 votes in favour and 78 against. ($1 = 19.3894 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Diego Ore; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Philippa Fletcher)