President Maduro Holds Conference with Businesses, Aims to End “Economic War”

Last night President Nicolas Maduro presided over an Economic Conference for Peace with over 650 business people and leaders from private and public sectors. He announced a range of economic measures as part of his new “economic offensive”.

Maduro in factory

Merida, 24th April 2014 ( – Last night President Nicolas Maduro presided over an Economic Conference for Peace with over 650 business people and leaders from private and public sectors. He announced a range of economic measures as part of his new “economic offensive”.

“Dialogue or war? No. It’s dialogue or dialogue…. that’s why we’re here, and we can’t miss this golden opportunity to reach agreements on the economy,” Maduro said at the start of the conference.

On Monday Maduro announced an “economic offensive” which outlined lead issues that would be addressed during the conference; production, supply, and fair prices. He also said the aim of the economic conference was to “unite the efforts of all the productive sectors, to promote a new productive economy”. He cited tourism as an area that needs growth, currently accounting for just 3% of the economy.

“We’re gradually going to obtain the formula. The classical formulas don’t respond to the reality of a country where a rentier system has been imposed,” said Vice-president Jorge Arreaza.

After the all-encompassing meeting last night, 16 working groups were held today, organised by economic and productive sectors such as construction, work, transport and logistics, financing, fair prices, promotion of exportation, communication and technology, tourism, textiles, health, agro-industry, currency, industry, petroleum and petro-chemicals, and air and water transport. Each working group will have national government representation, and there will also be state based Economic Conferences of Peace.

Measures agreed on

In line with the issues and proposals that arose during the conference, Maduro affirmed the publication of a decree today will extend an exemption from bureaucratic processing for the importation of essential goods till 31 December. Arreaza commented that there is “a lack of synchronisation between procedures”.

Arreaza said the government will create “systems and technology in order to guarantee more fluidity…and efficiency in all processes”. The government is aiming to have such a system ready by January 2015.

Arreaza said the government will also conduct an inspection of public and private enterprises next week in order to evaluate their production capacity.

Today companies Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, and white goods companies are to sign fair price agreements with the government.

Maduro said that foreign currency in the China Fund, National Development Fund (Fonden) and the Alba-Mercosur Fund, will be made available for “reactivating all the sectors who participate in production”. He said the government will announce soon the procedures for obtaining financing.

“The most important thing about investment is that it’s aimed at vital areas,” he said. He also stated that the government will pay out 30% of the debt owed by the old CADIVI in foreign currency assignations.

Maduro announced the creation of three “special economic zones”, which are part of the six year Homeland Plan. The zones are based around the petroleum belt in the Orinoco, the industrial areas of Carabobo, and petro-chemicals, transport, fishing, and tourism of the north-eastern state of Anzoategui.

Arreaza urged that the conference become something “permanent, not just of dialogue, but also planning… in order to satisfy our needs with national production”.

Maduro also criticised the implementation of many of the government’s initiatives, saying, “There’s no justification for some problems that have accumulated…because of bureaucracy, disorder, lack of decisions, lack of following up, many initiatives haven’t been completed.”

“It will take us a decade to end with a petroleum dependent economy in Venezuela, but the homeland plan aims to end with the old economic culture and in this way, finish a cycle of fifty years of parasitic, dollar-ist, and speculative rentierism through non productive activity,” Maduro concluded.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, according to the union federation UNETE press, 300 sugar cane workers from various states went to the national assembly to denounce some problems they are facing and to seek solutions. Workers argued that since the liquidations of the CVA Azucar (Venezuelan Sugar Workers Corporation), workers have been victim to various worker right violations.  Maduro approved the intervention into and liquidation of CVA Azucar in October last year.

They also said that since the liquidation, 600 workers have being fired, including union leaders. Further, nine sugar processing plants that were members of CVA Azucar have lowered their production by 50%. Workers requested measures to rescue sugar processing, and they called on Maduro to establish dialogue mechanisms with their union organisations.