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Mexican president unveils economic recovery plan

  • Story Highlights
  • Mexico leader says gasoline prices will be frozen for rest of year
  • Also planned is ambitious program to rebuild nation's infrastructure
  • Billions of pesos will be spent to help Mexicans weather financial storm
  • Plan also calls for steps to aid small- and medium-size companies
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MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon outlined a series of economic recovery measures Wednesday, including freezing gasoline prices for the rest of the year and lowering natural gas prices by 10 percent.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon announces his economic recovery proposals on Wednesday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon announces his economic recovery proposals on Wednesday.

Calderon also announced an ambitious agenda to help rebuild the nation's highways, bridges and other public-use facilities. The National Infrastructure Program, as he called it, will spend 570 billion pesos ($42 billion).

Petroleos Mexicanos, the nationally owned oil industry, will receive an additional 17 billion pesos ($1.2 billion).

Calderon made his wide-ranging announcement in a nationally televised speech attended by his wife, Cabinet members, governors and other public and private officials. He said Mexico is in better shape this year to fight off recession than it was in previous instances.

The recovery plan will address five areas: employment aid, family finances, competitiveness, infrastructure, and actions toward public spending that is more transparent and efficient.

In all, Calderon promised to spend billions of pesos to help Mexicans weather the global financial storm.

For example, Calderon pledged 2.6 billion pesos ($193 million) to improve a Social Security program for unemployed Mexicans, increasing from two months to six months the time they will receive medical and maternity coverage.

Other programs he announced also carried hefty price tags.

The government will spend 2.2 billion pesos ($163 million) to help Mexicans who are unemployed or underemployed, Calderon said.

The recovery measure includes financing to help poor families buy more energy-efficient electrical appliances. The government will set aside 750 million pesos ($55 million) to pay 50 percent of the costs of replacing old appliances.

To help businesses, the federal government will make at least 20 percent of its purchases from small- and medium-size companies, Calderon said. The government also will establish a 5 billion peso ($372 million) fund to start a "Made in Mexico" program for businesses to sell supplies to the national petroleum industry.

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