A regulatory panel ruled that the government agency that administers certain rural property information must provide information when requested. In doing so, it made this information more accessible and therefore promoted a higher degree of transparency within the Mexican executive branch. The problem in the case at hand was bureaucratic inefficiency due to the debate among agencies over who is responsible for a task, a situation not uncommon in a country’s civil service.
The regulatory panel is IFAI (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública), which is charged with promoting transparency in government and access to information. The government agency affected by this ruling is ASERCA (Apoyos y Servicios a la Comercialización Agropecuaria). One of ASERCA’s main functions is operating a program that gives direct (often monetary) support to national agricultural producers. Each year, about 3 million producers, usually economically disadvantaged farmers, receive payments from this entity.
Administering such an immense program involves keeping a large number of records with information about producers applying to receive support. As such, ASERCA has information on over 14 million hectares of land. The IFAI panel had requested two types of documents: copies of the deed of farms registered in the program and documents confirming those farms’ eligibility in the program. However, ASERCA had argued that it did not have the jurisdictional authority to provide this information.
Instead, they suggested that the panel should request this information from other agencies. However, the IFIA panel rejected this argument and ruled that ASERCA clearly had the ability, and now the duty to provide these documents when requested. This ruling resolved an existing administrative impediment and allows for this information to now become more accessible.