Puebla, Mexico, September 30, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Almost three quarters of Venezuela’s 2017 budget will be dedicated entirely to social spending, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed Thursday.
The budget includes measures that will likely enrage the political opposition, and is unlikely to be approved by lawmakers.
During a speech aired by state broadcaster VTV, Maduro said the ambitious budget would be passed, despite “right wing” opposition.
"70% of the 2017 budget is for social investment … including [the welfare] missions … education, housing, health, and retirement care," he said.
Maduro continued by stating his budget would include a massive expansion to the CLAPs program. As a response to food scarcity, the CLAP program has seen public workers delivering bags of basic food products door to door. Maduro has praised the CLAPs as a crucial tool in the fight against scarcity, though the political opposition has accused officials of discriminating against Venezuelans opposed to the ruling socialist party, the PSUV.
During his speech, Maduro said the CLAPs and other welfare initiatives were already bearing fruit.
“We’ve just had a September of peace, political stability … and gradual, progressive economic recovery, thanks to the Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission,” he said.
The Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission is a nationwide project aimed at countering scarcity of consumer goods, while cracking down on the black market.
Maduro’s proposed 2017 budget is the most ambitious in recent years in terms of social spending. The 2016 budget dedicated 42 percent of expenditure to social investment.
The annual budget will likely be voted on by the National Assembly in late October. With the right wing opposition coalition, the MUD, holding a strong majority in the assembly, Maduro’s budget will almost certainly be voted down. MUD lawmakers have long riled against many of the government’s key social missions. In particular, both the CLAPS and the Great Sovereign and Secure Supply Mission have drawn the ire of MUD leaders, who claim the programs are part of a government conspiracy to control the food supply for political purposes.