Venezuela’s National Assembly approved the budget for 2009 on Thursday, with a total of 164.7 billion bolivars (US$76.6 billion). Carora, December 13, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Venezuela’s National Assembly approved the budget for 2009 on Thursday, with a total of 164.7 billion bolivars (US$76.6 billion).
The legislature also approved 13.95 billion bolivars (US$6.49) in additional loans and for servicing of debt.
The budget was calculated on the basis of an estimated US$60 per barrel of oil as the average price for 2009.
Many oil producing nations’ 2009 budgets are expecting higher oil prices, such as Saudi Arabia, at US$65 a barrel, and Mexico, at US$70 a barrel.
Spending on government-sponsored social programs will remain high in 2009, with over 20 billion bolivars (US$ 9.3) approved, or about 12.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Increases in the minimum wage for current and retired workers are accounted for in the budget, as well as social spending on the elderly and on collective labor contracts.
Spending on health and education will also continue to be heavily funded, with the equivalent of over 25 percent of the country’s GDP destined for these sectors. Specifically, education will receive 42.5 billion bolivars (US$19.77 billion), over 18 percent of GDP, and health care spending will be over 12 billion bolivars (US$5.58 billion), equaling 7.2 percent of GDP.
Funding for regional governments will increase 32.6 percent with respect to 2008, representing an additional 10 billion bolivars (US$4.65 billion) for governors and mayors.
Funding for the famed “communal councils” will be around 3 billion bolivars (US$1.40 billion) in 2009, distributed through the Law of Special Economic Allocations (LAEE) and the Intergovernmental Fund for Decentralization (FIDES).
After passing the budget, the president of the Permanent Finances Commission of the National Assembly, Ricardo Sanguino, stated that Venezuela has all the necessary resources to confront the world financial crisis.
“The economic growth of the country is not going to stop,” he assured.