Caracas, January 9th 2016 venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced a 50% national minimum wage (NMW) increase as the country heads into 2017.
Applying retroactively to salaries from January 1st, the Venezuelan NMW will rise from 27.091 bolivars to 40.638, said the president Sunday evening.
“This defense of workers’ wage income is for balance, while there is war, we will continue with audacious, just, and necessary policies in search of harmony, balance, jobs and income,” stated Maduro.
Meanwhile, the food tickets which form part of the NMW and which can be exchanged for products in shops and restaurants across the country will remain at 63.720 bolivars until a new applicable tax rate is set for 2017.
The increase brings the total NMW to 104.358 or approximately USD$156 at the government’s official exchange rate, and USD$35 at the illegal exchange market rate.
The increase will also apply to those in receipt of a state-pension, which now benefits 90% of all retirement-age Venezuelans (approximately 3.2 million), said the president.
The latest NMW hike comes on the back of a previous 40% raise at the beginning of November 2016 and is the thirty-fifth to have been implemented since the Chavista government came to power in 1999.
Nonetheless, the increase still trails behind Venezuela’s estimated triple digit inflation rate, which closed at 180.9% at the end of 2015 according to the Central Bank of Venezuela. No official figures have been released for 2016.