Guatemala Budget 2012

The deputies at the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala discussed and argued over the 2012 budget for at least 12 hours before finally agreeing to it.

Highlights of Guatemala Budget 2012:
The Guatemala budget 2012 has allotted 59,547 million quetzals or more than 7.740 million dollars.
US$64.85 million or 500 million quetzals have been allotted for various operations related to the Forfeiture Act and other financial aids by the national government.
The national government is also supposed to adopt a global budget amounting to 100 million dollars and policies related to budget rearrangement.
Guatemala Economy:

Recently, Mexico has signed a Free Trade Agreement with Guatemala and four other Central American countries, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras.
This FTA is expected to affect 150 million consumers across the region.
According to Felipe Calderon, the Mexican President, this deal will help them to compete on equal terms with other developed countries and focus on areas such as trade, productive exchange of goods and services, and investment.

Guatemalan economy is supposed to benefit in the days to come as investors from Mexico are eyeing them along with the other co-signatories of the FTA, as the 4th most favored region for business opportunities.

Alvaro Colom, the President of Guatemala, feels that this FTA will benefit the national economy, with more scope for suggestions and dialogues. He also opines that this will help in strengthening relations within the countries.

As per the Social Watch Report 2012, in recent times many developing economies, especially in Latin America, have been investing all their resources in producing only one type of crop that has high demand from the industrialized and developed countries. This also puts their rights to development, security and food sovereignty at great risk.

Robert Bissio, the editor-in-chief of the Social Watch Report 2012 and the coordinator of Social Watch, has stated that, in case of Guatemala sugar is the major crop. According to him it is a prominent source of overall industrial cultivation and biofuels as well but has also contributed to population displacement, deforestation and human rights violations.

Traditionally Guatemalan economy has been agriculture based and the larger estates have held most of the land available for cultivation. The smaller farms are mostly involved in infra-subsistence and subsistence agriculture.

Economic experts opine that the sugarcane industry highlights the weaknesses in Guatemala s economy. The big sugar plantation owners have a lot of political and economic power in this Central American country and this means that they get the rivers diverted to ensure continued production in their farms.

This has had severe implications on the regional ecology with droughts throughout the summer and regular floods during the winters. Emissions of greenhouse gases have also increased as a result of the increasing sugarcane cultivation. A national report by the Coordinaci n de ONG y Cooperativas de Guatemala or CONGCOOP has indicated that there are possibilities of further ecological damage due to sugarcane cultivation.

This report states that approximately 90-95 percent of any sugarcane plantation, which is more than 200,000 hectares, is burned and this releases 50 kg of carbon dioxide per hectare. This implies that throughout the year 9000 tons of CO2 is added to the atmosphere.

The CONGCOOP report estimates that majority of the forests across the country have been almost wiped out because of these processes. The rate of deforestation has already reached 82,000 per year and at that rate by 2040 all of Guatemala s forests will be obliterated to make space for the sugarcane farms.

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