The Nicolás Maduro regime is expanding the use of bank accounts in foreign currency, in what is the latest step toward dollarization of an economy decimated in recent years.
“The opening of accounts at all levels in convertible currencies, in dollars is being authorized”said the dictator this Wednesday during an annual speech that, he says, is intended to render accounts of the management to the population.
As Venezuela’s economy contracted for the seventh consecutive year in 2020, the regime turned a blind eye to the increasing number of dollar transactions and relaxed the controls that restricted private business. Since this shift in focus, more than $ 2 billion in remittances have flowed into the Caribbean country and there are now abundant goods on offer for those with access to foreign currency.
Local banks can already offer accounts in US dollars, but transactions are limited due to the lack of a clearing system that allows electronic fund transfers between different banks. Maduro’s proposal would allow the widespread use of debit cards connected to these accounts.
Venezuelans will now be able to pay in bolivars with debit cards from their dollar accounts, Maduro pointed out, who also indicated that the dollarization of the economy is a necessary and beneficial escape valve for economic life.
Since a year-on-year inflation of 1,858% is estimated, bolivar bills lose value in record time, increasing the need for digital payments and currencies to facilitate transactions.
WITH FINANCE ON THE GROUND
Venezuela receives 98.6% less income than in 2013, the year Maduro took over the executive, according to the dictator himself in his annual message. The report is full of economic data that reveals the ruin in which the country finds itself.
“We went from having more than 50,000 million dollars (56,609 million) in 2013 to having only 743 million in 2020,” Maduro told the National Assembly with a ruling majority.
In his rendering of accounts on the exercise of power in 2020, he also admitted that unemployment and poverty grew, although the margins presented are much lower than non-governmental estimates, that illustrate that the vast majority of Venezuelans live in poverty.
LESS OIL, LESS MONEY
Maduro also acknowledged that the pumping of the state oil company PDVSA fell 69% between 2015 and 2019, a phenomenon that led the Caribbean country to lose revenues of around $ 102.5 billion.
AND set the 2021 oil production target at 1.5 million barrels per day, 500,000 barrels per day less than the country’s 2020 goal.
The dictator also presented a graph in which he assured that by March 2015 Venezuela was producing 2,817,000 barrels of oil per day.
It did not indicate how many barrels per day PDVSA currently produces, but it did indicate that the country stopped pumping more than 2,153 million barrels of crude “for refining and export.”
According to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which cites secondary sources, the country pumped 339,000 barrels of crude daily last August.
POVERTY AND UNEMPLOYMENT
“General poverty by 17% and extreme poverty by 4%, if about housing, health, education needs, etc., it is a question ”, continued the governor, to later clarify that the results of these indicators in 2020 are not yet available.
These data contrast strongly with those of the National Survey of Living Conditions (Encovi), carried out by the most important universities in the country, and which placed the indicator for that year at 96% poverty in general and 79.3% extreme poverty. .
Maduro also said that unemployment was 8.8%, two points higher compared to 2019. And he said that there has been “a reduction in formal work from 59.3% to 56.1%, and (a growth) in informal work from 40.7% to 43.9%.”
IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC
Apart from the economic data, Maduro congratulated himself for more than an hour for the handling he has given to the covid-19 pandemic in the country, considering that his Executive took measures that allowed today to have one of the lowest official balances in the country. world, in terms of deaths from this disease.
“We were the first country in the world and I was the first president in the world to put on the mask. That has been one of our best weapons in this battle we have fought ”, he said.
In addition, he highlighted the “success” of the method he has applied to “boost” the economy in the midst of the pandemic and which he has called “7 + 7”, a system that he plans to propose to the World Health Organization (WHO) to let it be replicated in the world.
To top it off, announced that “very soon” 10 million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V will arrive in Venezuela to prevent the coronavirus, a pandemic that, according to official figures, has left 117,299 infections and 1,078 deaths in the country in more than 300 days.
With information from Bloomberg and EFE
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