Peru’s finance ministry has declared some of Lima’s Blue Corridor contracts void for not obtaining its approval for sustainability.
The finance ministry has dealt a blow to Lima’s public transit reform in declaring three key contracts void. The voided contracts licensed three bus companies to operate the large, blue buses along the Javier Prado-La Marina-Faucett and Tacna-Garcilaso-Arequipa routes.
“The finance ministry is wrong again and not just in its management,” said Lima mayor Luis Castañeda. “The finance ministry, exceeding its authority, is trying to make problems for this great project we’re doing.”
The finance ministry says that the law requires certain municipal contracts to obtain its approval. Lima city officials counter that the contracts were awarded in January 2014, two months before a law was enacted which required public contracts to receive approval from Peru’s finance ministry.
However finance ministry officials say the contracts were not signed until July and, in some cases, December. And because the day the contract was signed determines its effective date according to the law, the contracts require the finance ministry’s approval.
“Approval is necessary because the contracts could generate debts which compromise public resources,” reads a finance ministry statement.
Castañeda has said he will take the issue to Peru’s supreme court. The mayor who is seen as a manager who gets things done criticized the finance ministry for being too bureaucratic. Yesterday he called for Segura to resign his position.
“The mayor is trying to turn something that is clearly about responsibility and respect for the law into a political issue with talking points because he knows he has no argument,” Segura said.
Deputy economic minister Enzo de Filippi says that the finance ministry notified Lima’s municipal government that the contracts required approval last November, two months before Castañeda took office.
The Lima mayor won an unexpected backer in former mayor and election opponent Susana Villaran, who designed the Blue Corridor system and lent her support from her Facebook page.
“In this case of municipal and regional autonomy as well as transportation reform to benefit Lima, I’m with you Mr. Mayor, despite our differences,” Villaran wrote. “In these times when we urgently need private investment, the finance ministry boycotts it.”
The latest uncertainty in the Blue Corridor bus system comes in the midst of strikes led by bus drivers in Callao and Lima who will be removed from Lima’s main thoroughfares under the reform.
Castañeda, who is seen as a mayor who gets things done, has clashed with finance minister Alonso Segura on various issues since assuming office this year. Most notably, in April the two had a brief spat over the same issue. Castañeda had not obtained the finance ministry’s approval to build a bypass bridge and highway on 28 de Julio avenue.
Last month Castañeda criticized the finance ministry for its delays in delivering funds to build projects for the city to withstand an extreme El Niño climate phenomenon. Last June Castañeda criticized Segura for excessive paperwork and bureaucratic process building the Bella Union bridge.
Susana Villarán (Facebook)