Guatemala's Govt Opens Dialogue on Budget That Sparked Protests

Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei Tuesday started a dialogue table to discuss the 2021 Budget whose approval last week provoked a wave of protests in the country.

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Non-governmental economic organizations and ‘thinking tanks’ integrated the dialogue process that kicked off at the National Palace at 10h00 local time.

However, the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) and the Association for Research and Social Studies (ASIES) withdrew from the dialogue because it included religious and business organizations and excluded other essential sectors.

“This is an exclusionary process, which has not a technical, but a political debate. We don’t want to be part of a farce,” ASIES Secretary Pablo Hurtado explained.

Giammattei seeks to “listen and receive answers” to reform the current Income and Expenditure Plan amid the outrage of the people who are demanding his resignation after ten months in office.

At the end of the dialogue, the table proposed to reduce the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fiscal deficit to 4 percent and to increase resources to combat child malnutrition and food insecurity.

Congress approved the Budget on Nov. 18. The decision sparked massive protests in rejection of its extensive reductions for health and human rights issues.

On Monday, Guatemalan Congress President Allan Rodriguez assured that the Gianmattei government would revoke the 2021 Budget.