Economist Luis Oliveros spoke to reporters yesterday on Maduro’s unprecedented approval of the national budget by decree – as opposed to having it approved by the National Assembly – on Friday, and pointed out a telling feature of the document in regards to the country’s inflation rate.
The Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) no longer publishes economic information, including the country’s inflation rate. As a result, the task of calculating this rate becomes more difficult for economists like Oliveros.
However, Oliveros pointed out that last year’s national budget called for spending of Bs. 1.5 billion in 2016, whereas the 2017 budget calls for spending of Bs. 8.5 billion.According to Oliveros, the whopping increase in the government’s expected spending for the next calendar year is an “implicit recognition” that the inflation rate for 2016 will be approximately 500%.
Oliveros also pointed out that one of the very few details known about the 2017 budget is that the government estimates that the price of oil will average approximately US $30 per barrel next year. Oliveros called the estimate “conservative”, but explained that the reason for the figure is a nefarious one:
The government didn’t [estimate] the figure for a good reason. [They did it to] hide funds.
According to Oliveros, if the average price of oil increases even one cent over the US $30 estimate, that extra money will officially be off the books. In other words, any extra money that Venezuela makes from oil sales next year will essentially be untraceable, meaning that corrupt officials will be able to steal it without having to worry about a paper trail linking back to the national budget.
Oliveros also said that Maduro’s refusal to present the budget to the national assembly despite clear legal and constitutional requirements to do so is extremely harmful not only to democracy but also to the economy, since foreign investors may be even more hesitant to spend money in Venezuela given the national government’s absolute contempt for the law.
Allup: National Gov’t Full of “Incorrigible Idiots”
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup had harsh words for the national government at an event in Merida state last night. Allup called corrupt government officials who steal “traitors”, and was accompanied at the event by opposition deputies Jose Simon Calzadilla, Gaby Arellano and William Davila.
Allup, who is well known for his rhetorical flourish, told opposition supporters at a rally the following:
The government has idiocy built into its chromosomes and inside its bones. They are incorrigible idiots. They haven’t yet realized that by systematically violating the constitution, by ignoring the Assembly’s constitutional powers (…) they are closing doors at the international level, because foreign counties aren’t dumb and they know that this is a government that is living through its last days.
Allup also pointed out that despite the PSUV’s best efforts, time was ultimately on the opposition’s side. Allup said:
[The PSUV] has to respect the next government – which, by the way, will be representative of all of the parties in the MUD [Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, the opposition bloc]. [This next government] will denounce all of the violations that [the PSUV] has committed against the Constitution.
Finally, on Maduro’s approval of his own budget by decree, Allup said:
We will not recognize nor pay for any agreement signed by this bum, this delinquent, Nicolas Maduro.
With this last comment, Allup was lending credence to the growing belief that Maduro’s budget-by-decree will spell turmoil for Venezuela’s economic future, since any future opposition-led government will be likely have a very good argument to not comply by or pay any debts incurred by this budget since it was approved illegally.
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