Honduras: between the General Budget and the Danger of Disregarding the Institutionality

By Elena Toledo. Eleutera Foundation
Honduras: between the General Budget and the Danger of Disregarding the Institutionality

During the month of September, Honduras lived through a series of measures that tipped the balance towards a negative assessment of freedoms and the Rule of Law.

Although the approval of the Nation’s General Budget and the improvement of the institutional structure of the National Health Regulatory Agency (ARSA) was indeed a positive measure by the Legislative Power, other aspects remain of concern.

The alarming -46% general landscape demands a more vigilant stance on the actions taken from our decision makers. The suspension of the Constitutional Guarantees, the approval of energy contracts that borderlines the processes stipulated in the General Law on the Electrical Industry (LGIE), including those from regulators and operators, simply puts the National Electrical Market (MEN) process as risk.

Besides putting the opening of the MEN at risk, recent measures approved by the Legislative Power also jeopardize current and future national and foreign investments, which are crucial in establishing a safe and efficient electrical system at a much lower cost than the current one.

The country’s energy issue has been highly politicized and has acted as a stumbling stone for the economy of all businesses and citizens in general. In addition to elevated energy costs as well as having an unstable and ineffective service, this issue has generated significant losses.

It is of great concern that future contracts will follow suit and be approved in the same fashion, -and even though it is not sufficiently representative of the energy sector- it does affect the institutionality that has been created after the approval of LGIE in 2015.

On the other hand, it is important to stress that the dynamics of the legislative power in Honduras has been centered on electoral matters with the debate of the New Electoral Law, which only serves to distract Hondurans from the real issues.

The current situation of the Legislative Power is outside the realm of reality and circumstances required by Hondurans -and the rest of world for that matter- under the current global scenario. This will only impair the economic and social situation of the people.

It is crucial to underline that transparency will only foster respect and strengthen the institutionality of the nation; many people may come and go, but it is precisely that the institutionality that will manage to sustain the economic, judicial and people certainty in general.