In a bid to secure more funds for Venezuela’s social programs, President Hugo Chávez has petitioned the National Assembly for 45 billion bolivars.
The 45 billion bolivars were requested through the “Law of Additional Debt” and will mean cashing government bonds and increasing the nation’s debt limit for 2011. Ministers approved this law in a governmental meeting yesterday and it will now be passed to the National Assembly for consideration and debate.
“I think it should go to the National Assembly for discussion, I think that is the most appropriate,” said Chávez, who declined to use the special law-decreeing powers that were granted to him in December 2010.
Of the 45 billion bolivars requested, the government said 20 billion will go towards the government’s new housing mission, 10 billion will be dedicated to the recently announced employment mission and 5 billion will be used to address the ongoing emergency caused by heavy rains.
Vice-president of Economic Development and Finance Commission Jesús Faría said that the law would be a step toward social justice and well-being, calling it “the Bolivarian revolution’s new offensive phase within the social and economic sphere.”
The Venezuelan government has set itself the task of building 2 million houses before 2017 and employing more than 3.5 million Venezuelans in “productive, socialist and humanist” jobs within the next 8 years through its new housing and employment missions.
Stressing that the increase in national debt shouldn’t cause alarm, Faría reminded the Venezuelan public that the government had income from oil sales and stable international banking reserves.
“This debt isn’t going into paying current expenditure or any other kind of non-productive expenditure, it’s going into promoting the social and economic development of the country, which is going to ensure spending capacity in the future… Furthermore, part of the debt is going to substitute old debt for new, in this way we can level out Venezuela’s debt profile,” he said.
Significant government investment in other social areas was also announced today at a press conference given by Vice-president Elias Jaua, who confirmed investment in the mission for housewives from poor areas (153,79,034 bolivars), the Bolivarian National Navy Training School (98,000,000 bolivars), as well as investments in various programmes being developed in conjunction with the National Bank of Social Development of Brasil (BNDS).
President Chávez also approved 580.7 million bolivars to renovate 30 hospitals in the country and 413 million bolivars for a ‘humanisation’ operation within the nation’s penitentiaries.