New Program Supplies Venezuelans with Affordable Household Appliances

The Venezuelan government launched the program “My well equipped house” last night. In the first instalment, government stores, such as Mercal and Bicentenario, will distribute 116,000 household appliances.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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A Mercal Hogar oven (RNV)
A Mercal Hogar oven (RNV)
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Merida, September 16th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government launched the program “My well equipped house” last night. In the first instalment, government stores, such as Mercal and Bicentenario, will distribute 116,000 household appliances.

The products include refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, air conditioners, microwave ovens, and water heaters, and the government will sell them at a below market price.

Government press said 118 services centres in all of the country’s states are ready to provide maintenance, and the products are designed to consume 50% less electricity than the standard products on the market.

There are a range of ways consumers can buy the products, including a credit plan with an interest rate of 16%, below the rate of inflation, and another plan with a four-year repayment term and no interest. BanMujer (the Women’s bank) will facilitate product purchases for participants in the Mothers of the Barrio social mission with the latter plan, and the Bank of the People and the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS) signed a cooperation agreement to provide credits to pensioners and retired people, who can pay in the same bank where they receive their pensions, currently equivalent to the minimum wage.

A refrigerator that normally costs Bs 2,765 (US$ 643) can be bought in the Bicentenario stores and Mercals for Bs 1,574 (US$ 366), AVN reported.

The appliance program comes from an agreement between Venezuela and China signed on 28 May 2010 and includes a contract to buy a total of 300,548 household electrical appliances from the company Haier Electric Appliances.

The Mercal white goods distributor has been called “Mercal hogar” (Mercal home) and there are already 26 such shops as well as six Bicentenario white goods suppliers, which will open for sale today. From 30 September, the Ministry of Communication said there will also be 17 “Super Pdvals”.

During the inauguration, Chavez said the state has invested US$ 72 million in the agreement to buy the supplies, and plans to eventually set up a Haier factory in Venezuela.

“This mechanism isn’t just for offering cheap products, but also to defend the people against the greed of capitalism,” Chavez said.

Chavez also requested the minister for Science, Technology and Intermediate Industries, Ricardo Menendez, take the necessary measures so that “never again” will there be paralysation such as in the production of mobile phones and personal computers.

The government’s very affordable “Vergatario” phones have not arrived in many areas of the country and have been difficult to attain for most people. In May this year Chavez inaugurated a mobile phone factory, which was also a result of cooperation with China, which is producing the parts which are then assembled in Venezuela. The Vegatario is being made in another phone factory, Vetelca, and was first released in May last year.

“We’re going to have a ceremony to sell these mobile phones and the computers that we are assembling with the support of China. We can’t keep selling them in secret. Let’s set up selling points where we can sell the cars, phones and computers that we are producing,” Chavez said.

Chavez stressed that the programs of production and sale of goods and services at lower prices only seek to improve the quality of life of all Venezuelans.

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