February 14, 2012 / 12:05 AM / 6 years ago

Honduras Honduras Finance Minister resigns after IMF mission

TEGUCIGALPA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Honduras’ finance minister resigned on Monday after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the country did not reach its deficit and monetary targets for 2011, as the country negotiates a new agreement with the fund.

President Porfirio Lobo accepted the resignation of William Chong Wong who had served as finance minister since the beginning of his administration in January 2010.

The minister’s resignation comes at a time when Honduras is negotiating a new 18-month stand-by agreement with the IMF to replace the current one expiring in March.

In a statement last week after concluding a mission to Honduras, the IMF said some structural reform targets set by a 2010 agreement had not been met.

“The mission confirmed that the target deficit of the combined public sector was achieved, but noted that the deficit of the central government was higher than expected,” the statement said.

“In addition, the mission observed that the monetary targets under the program (net international reserves and central bank domestic assets) were not met,” the IMF added.

Honduras is the third poorest country in the hemisphere, following Haiti and Nicaragua. It currently faces insufficient growth and a fiscal deficit covered partly by international aid and internal debt, which has worsened the country’s finances.

The president will announce Chong Wong’s replacement on Wednesday, government spokesman Miguel Bonilla said.

Separately on Monday, Lobo accepted the resignation of the commerce minister Francisco Zelaya after his alleged involvement in an improper rice import deal. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Isabella Cota; Editing by Diane Craft)

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