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Venezuela’s Chavez Delegates Economic Decisions to Vice President

Punto Fijo, December 27th, 2012 ( – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has signed a decree delegating certain responsibilities in economic matters to his vice president, Nicolas Maduro.

The decision was announced yesterday in the official newsletter of the Venezuelan government (Gaceta Oficial), but had been signed by President Chavez on December 9th, before undergoing surgery on December 11th.

The decree allows Vice President Nicolas Maduro to make a range of administrative decisions, including the appointment of vice-ministers and other public officials, the decree of expropriations, the transfer of funds among ministries, and oversee public credit operations.

President Chavez made a similar decision in July 2011 to delegate responsibilities to then Vice President Elias Jaua when he travelled to Cuba to receive chemotherapy.

The decision comes amid much speculation about a possible devaluation of the currency.

Last devalued 2 years ago, Venezuela’s currency and has since become increasingly overvalued due to inflation. Many analysts believe that the government will need to make adjustments soon as a result of a growing fiscal deficit that is affected by the overvalued exchange rate.

The decree does not say anything about this type of economic decision, and it is unlikely that any adjustments will be made before the swearing-in ceremony that is tentatively scheduled for January 10th.

However, the decree does allow Maduro to authorize debt sales, which is a likely alternative to devaluing the currency if the government decides to delay any adjustment to the exchange rate.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday that he had spoken to President Chavez by telephone, and had been given a number of orders regarding economic decisions and the budget for 2013.

Published on Dec 27th 2012 at 12.35pm