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Guatemala finance minister quits on refrom delay

GUATEMALA CITY, June 23 (Reuters) - Guatemalan Finance Minister Alberto Fuentes resigned on Wednesday due to frustration over delays in passing a reform of the country’s finances, President Alvaro Colom said.

Fuentes, one of the few ministers from Colom’s original cabinet still in office after almost two and a half years, had tried on several occasions to pass a fiscal reform bill.

The most recent proposal to increase income taxes has faced stiff opposition from the private sector and is currently stalled in Congress.

“We very much regret the resignation of Alberto Fuentes,” said Colom at a press conference.

“At the bottom of it is the disappointment at not having a fiscal reform.”

Fuentes had argued fiscal reforms were necessary to curb a budget deficit likely to grow due to the damage to infrastructure caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in May.

Guatemala currently has one of the lowest tax takes in Latin America.

Colom also announced the resignation of Energy and Mines Minster Carlos Meany, who stepped down due to health reasons. (Reporting by Sarah Grainger; Writing by Robert Campbell)