Venezuela: Opposition and Government Regional Leaders Meet to Discuss Budget

During its first annual ple­nary session held last Monday, the Venezuelan gov­ernment’s Federal Governing Council (CFG) met to discuss the methods and the manner in which national financial re­sources will be disbursed to the country’s distinct localities over the course of 2011.

By Edward Ellis - Correo del Orinoco International

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Venezuelan Vice President Elías Jaua (archive)
Venezuelan Vice President Elías Jaua (archive)
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The CFG is the constitutionally established mechanism charged with providing funding to munici­pal and state governing bodies and is composed of members of the ex­ecutive branch with the open par­ticipation of governors and mayors throughout the country.

According to Venezuelan Vice President and head of the CFG, Elias Jaua, every elected official from the nation’s local governments has a voice within the plenary.

“Every governor in the coun­try has a right to take part in the plenary session and here all the governors, including those who are in opposition to the revolu­tionary project [of the Chavez government], have been pres­ent”, he said.

Likewise, Jaua said, “There is a representative for each mayor­ship. Everyone is present”.

Although Venezuela’s politi­cal system has been decentral­ized over the years, national rev­enues, derived mainly from the country’s petroleum industry, are administered at the federal level and subsequently directed towards local governments.

The law has established that funds need to be focused on ap­proved projects that serve the in­terests of the country and work in consonance with the nation’s overall productive development strategy, Development Plan “Si­mon Bolivar”. According to Jaua, funding priorities will be given to proj­ects that address the necessi­ties of underserved populations throughout the country’s differ­ent regions.

“[Priorities] can be seen from the territorial point of view, but also from the point of view of social indicators, where the ma­jority of the population live in conditions of poverty, as is the case in the most populated shan­tytowns in Caracas and other cities in country as well as in regions where there hasn’t been any kind of investment through­out the history of the country”, he explained.

Jaua emphasized that the proj­ect proposals of local mayors and governors for 2011 need to be submitted in the next two weeks to be considered.

“In the next 15 days, they should present their annual investment plan to the Secretary General of the government so that they can be considered and approved. From this approval, then, the disburse­ment of resources can begin for the 2011 fiscal year”, he affirmed.

Once the proposals have been approved and disbursed, the Vice President explained, the carrying out of projects is obligatory.

“Over the course of the year, re­gional offices and inspectors will be verifying the fulfillment of all projects and making sure that re­sources provided are being used for the projects approved in the annual investment plan. This way there will be a guarantee that re­sources are being directed within the framework of the Development Plan ‘Simon Bolivar’”, he said.

Jaua also mentioned the cre­ation of sanctions for non-compli­ant officials.

“We have also created a mecha­nism of penalization for those governors, mayors or members of community groups that don’t carry out projects that have been presented, approved and financed”, he declared, assuring that those who misuse funds will be sanctioned.