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President Maduro Signs Several Laws Before Decree Powers Expire

Caracas, January 3, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed several laws just days before the recently elected and opposition-led National Assembly is sworn in. 

The laws cover aspects in economy, social security and grassroots initiatives and were decreed through the so-called Enabling Law. 

The laws were announced by Maduro on Wednesday December 30th - including a significant tax reform for “big capital”. 

The reform seeks to eliminate tax evasion and will remove inflationary adjustment for big business. 

"This reform is not targeted at individuals or people who do not have big capital. Is directed at big capital, a group of 3,000 taxpayers who should be contributing more," said President Maduro. 

In addition, a unified system of importations and exportations will be implemented. A levy of 0.75 percent will be charged on every large transaction to guarantee the income of foreign currency to maintain the social programs developed by the state.

Several changes were also made to the Exchange Law (Régimen Cambiario y sus ilícitos) and the system known as CENCOEX which is used to apply for state regulated foreign currency. 

In particular, the reforms look to reinforce punishments for speculative practices amongst venders who sell products according to an inflated black market dollar rate - especially if they have received state subsidised dollars in order to import goods. 

The head of state also created the Plan of Mining Development 2016-2018 and the Organic Law for the Development of Petrochemical Activities. 

The first law outlines the provisions for the creation of mixed enterprises – with the Venezuelan state retaining at least 55 percent of shares – for gold and other strategic minerals projects. 

Both projects seek to increase and diversify national production and to attract foreign investment. 

During his weekly program In Contact With Maduro last Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also announced the creation of the “Presidential Councils of the People's Government” as an organ of the state. 

These councils offer direct communication between grassroots initiatives and the president and cover a wide-variety of areas such as sexual diversity and LGBTQ, workers' rights or campesino issues. 

The presidential councils should also assure that proposed projects and laws are completed as intended by the grassroots of the revolution. 

Additionally, the Popular Council of State was created by the president as an instrument where the Venezuelan people can participate directly in the work of the government.

Both initiatives are aimed at promoting popular power and Venezuela’s participatory democratic model.  

To guarantee the social security of the working class, Maduro also signed a decree to protect the employment of workers and shield them against unjustified dismissals until 2018. 

The move was widely interpreted as an attempt to undermine opposition plans to implement mass dismissals once they take their posts in the National Assembly on January 5th.

The head of state also passed the management of the Mountain Barrack, former president Hugo Chávez' burial site, to the Hugo Chávez Foundation for the next 100 years. 

The delegation means that the Chávez’s body cannot be legally removed from the site for the next century. 

Spokespeople from the Democratic Unity Roundtable have threatened to close the place since winning 2/3 of the National Assembly in the parliamentary elections. 

The National Assembly granted the President constitutional authority to decree laws in March 2015. This authority expired on December 31st.

 

Published on Jan 4th 2016 at 10.39am