TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras president Juan Orlando Hernández announced the immediate roll-out of an economic aid plan to fully address the main needs of the population amid the sanitary emergency caused by COVID-19 and its consequences.
The economic aid plan targets the most vulnerable groups in the Central America country, including health care personnel, agro producers, small and medium enterprises, and families under high poverty rate.
The implemented first action consisted in the delivery of a 30 days food package for 800,000 families, for an estimated reach of 3.2 million people.
Since February, following the emergency declaration for dengue and coronavirus, Honduras approved a budgetary support of $4.4 million for the preparation of the imminent arrival of COVID-19. Subsequently, president Hernandez lead the approval in Congress of the Economic Acceleration Law, which aims to immediately inject 420 million dollars into the national economy to boost the generation of 100,000 jobs, and to strengthen the social security system to guaranty assistance capacity to more than three million users. The initiative includes the construction and equipment of 95 health centers and eleven hospitals nationwide.
The government also announced the plan for maintenance and improvement of roads across the country that would generate additional 15,500 jobs in 2020.
A digital government modality will also be implemented with a budget of $ 8.7 million to provide online access for procedures of individuals and business services to cut red tape and physical presence thus saving time, effort and protect citizens from the contagion of the COVID-19. A Comprehensive System Against Corruption and Transparency was also created to improve efficiency in the management processes of government institutions and to reduce expenses.
Previously, the government ordered a freeze on the prices of basic goods to protect the family’s economy and health.
With the support of the Honduran Bank of Production and Housing (BANHPROVI), three months freeze of loans quotas was approved for small and medium enterprises, commerce, agriculture, and tourism sectors, among others. The other financial sectors may grant grace periods to debtors who are affected by the reduction in their cash flows.
Credit lines were created for opening new financing tools for housing, and the agricultural sector to guaranty food safety. Solidarity Credit was also extended to over 5,000 entrepreneurs so that once the emergency allows restarting commercial activities, they will have working capital for a new boost.
Also, as a result of an agreement between the government and telecommunication companies, more than seven million users will have for 30 days free access to digital services.