LatinNews Daily - 13 January 2023

In brief: Honduras’s congress approves 2023 budget

*Honduras’s 128-member unicameral legislature has approved the government’s proposed 2023 state budget for L392.52bn (US$16bn), up 8.9 % on 2022. According to the legislature, 81% of the approved budget will be financed by national treasury funds mainly coming from tax take. It highlights that the new budget does not envisage the creation of new taxes or an increase of existing ones. According to the leftist Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre) government led by President Xiomara Castro, pending priorities include the acquisition of medicines, infrastructure, construction of hospitals, construction and rehabilitation of schools and salary increases for teachers. Other priorities include agriculture, environmental protection and promotion of gender equity. The budget has however been criticised by civil society groups like Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa (ASJ), the local chapter of anti-corruption NGO Transparency International, which warns that it is “inconsistent with the national reality” and is the biggest in Central America, representing 47% of GDP when that of other countries is less than 27%. ASJ complains some of the budget assigned for the state-owned electricity company Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE) should have been invested in education and health, adding that the transfers to the company are up 128% compared with 2022. It also highlights that the fight against corruption – a declared government priority - is not adequately reflected in the assignation of funds with barely L157.1m assigned to the transparency and anti-corruption ministry.

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