Leftist Named Minister of Exterior Relations

Patricias Rodas was named Minister of Foreign Relations by Honduran president Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Patricia Rodas is known for her leftist and populist convictions.

Many politics and citizens have expressed their concerns regarding this decision. They fear that relations with the United States might suffer and come under more tension with Patricia Rodas as head of that Ministry.

The United States is Honduras’ most important commercial partner where most of the exports are headed and also the US hosts many Honduran national under their Temporary Protection Status (TPS) plan which might be affected.


Pothole Repairs To Begin in Tegucigalpa

The Mayors office in Tegucigalpa, announced that pothole repair will begin in February. The mayors office has been hardly criticized by the enormous amounts of potholes that formed in all of Tegucigalpa’s streets during 2008 and were not repaired.

The potholes caused damage to cars and in many cases slowed traffic down to a crawl, increasing fuel consumption, increase in parts for cars and trucks as well as increasing stress levels for all the citizens of Tegucigalpa.

100 million lempiras will be destined for this project.


Government Confronts Private Business

The Honduran government held a press conference today with the participation of the Director of Executive Revenue Office (equivalent to the US’ IRS). During his participation he gave the revenues earned by the different sector of the economy such as hotels, food services, manufacturing and retail. All of these revenues where in two digit million lempira figure.

The purpose of this is to ask business owners to share the wealth by accepting the new minimum wage.


Wave of Job losses Hits Honduras

A wave of job losses has swept the country. The Honduran Work Ministry has been swamped with people who’s companies have fired them because they cannot pay the new minimum wage one sidedly authorized by the Honduran president Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

Many of the people there are carrying official notifications from their companies, that due to the wage increase in times of economic crisis, they will not be able to pay them and so their services are no longer needed.

Most of the workers belong to small, medium and large companies.


Unclear Electric Price Reduction Announced

The Honduran government, through the National Electric Company (ENEE) announced yesterday a reduction in the costs of electricity, but it is unclear whether it is a real reduction or just a play with numbers.

The current electric bill has a consumption tariff and also a line called fuel price adjustment. The announcement stated that the fuel price adjustment will be eliminated since the prices for bunker, which is used to generate electricity has gone done in the international market, trading below$36.

At the same time, a new tariff table was presented, with adjustments to the current consumption tariff rates.

It is unclear if the final price for electricity will go up or down or in what percentage.


First Lost Jobs Reported

The first jobs lost due to the minimum wage increase have been reported in Choluteca’s mayors office. Choluteca’s mayor has officially declared that 147 people will be fired when the minimum wage increase becomes official.

The mayors office will not have the capacity to pay the the higher wage salaries with its limited budget. If they were to pay all those employees, then investment in areas such as health and infrastructure would have to drop almost to zero.


Fuel Shortage in Tegucigalpa

A fuel shortage has been spreading in Tegucigalpa during the past 5 days. Many fuel stations (40%) are reporting they have run out of premium gasoline and the supply is expected to be regularized after next Tuesday when a ship carrying the fuel is expected to arrive.

The fuel shortage has not been reported on regular gasoline and diesel fuel.

Customers have been going from gas station to gas station searching gas and need to make long lines in order to buy a limited amount of fuel.


Public University Students Get Better Scores

The average score for students in the public Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (UNAH) went up to a 66%. The average score in 2005 was 46%, an increase of more than 20% points.

This increase in scores is due to more commitment by the universities students but also the decision taken that students with average scores less than 40% would not be allowed to register for classes.

The university teachers and staff hope that this trend will continue in 2009 and higher levels of education will be achieved.


Government Budget Increased by Lps. 6,000 million

The Honduran government budget for 2009 has increased by more than Lps. 6,000 million. This increase is mostly due to increases in wages for government employees as well as to pay higher salaries to teachers; doctors and nurses in the medical sector.

 Of the total budget, 82% is financed by taxes and the difference obtained in the form of international cooperation.