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Honduras: Laws Create a New Legal Framework for the Promotion of Economic Development

(Sept. 7, 2011) Honduras passed a legislative package during 2010 aimed at boosting the economic development of the country. This package is composed of three major laws. The first is Legislative Decree 107-2010, containing the Law on Supplementary Income in Rural and Sub-Urban Areas, published in the GACETA OFICIAL (G.O.) on August 21, 2010. The Decree is designed to be a law on public policy and social interests, to implement projects that improve the quality of life of the concerned populations. The projects are on protection of the environment, reduction of vulnerability to natural disasters, improvement of food security, creation of new capabilities, and strengthening of sustainable economic development. The Decree contains technical definitions, charges the Secretary of State for Social Development with the implementation of its provisions, and enumerates the activities or categories of community and social work to be promoted by the national government. It also sets forth the procedure and criteria for the awarding of funds aimed at furthering the purposes of the Law. (Decree 107-2010, July 29, 2010, [32,296], G.O. 13-18.)

The second law in the package is Legislative Decree 230-2010, approving the “National Program of Employment by the Hour.” The Decree was published on September 16, 2010, in the official gazette. The stated purpose of the Program is to establish a special emergency program of a temporary character until November 2013, to support dignified employment, to keep jobs, and to avoid rises in the unemployment and sub-employment indexes. For that purpose, the Program creates the “National Solidarity Plan for Anti-Crisis Employment,” which operates within the framework of the “Plan of the Nation and the Vision of the Country,” which is an essential element of the government's plan for the 2010-2014 period, aimed at economic reactivation and job creation. The Program sets forth the legal framework for “employment by the hour contracts,” to be executed between employers and temporary workers, and it regulates the modalities and forms of contracting, the requirements for employers who wish to take advantage of the Program, and other aspects related to the new employment relationships, such as salaries, workers' rights, labor protection, and social security obligations. Finally, the Program covers control mechanisms for the application and enforcement of its provisions and sets forth penalties for violation of them. (Decree 230-2010, Nov. 5, 2009, [32358], G.O. 10-19.)

Lastly, Legislative Decree 143-2010 approves the Law on the Promotion of the Public-Private Alliance, published in the official gazette on November 5, 2010. The Law's stated purpose is to manage and regulate procurement processes, allowing public-private participation in the execution of public works and services, in order to foster investment in the country. It contains technical definitions and the principles guiding public-private participation. The Law also regulates the basic content of public-private alliance contracts and the organizational forms for public-private alliances. It creates the Commission for the Promotion of the Public-Private Alliance (COALIANZA), charged with promoting public-private alliance projects. In addition, it contains a chapter on the protection of confidential government information and private intellectual property rights. (Decree 143-2010, Aug. 11, 2010, [32,317], G.O. 1-13.)