CARACAS, Saturday December 29, 2012 | Update

"Neither planning nor control on Venezuela's public expenditure"

"Discussions in congress shall aim at the need for controlling parallel expenditure"

Amendment to the Organic Law on Financial Management in the Public Sector has been detrimental to states (File photo)
Saturday December 29, 2012  12:00 AM
Opposition Deputy Vestalia Sampedro is in charge of keeping record of the money that has not been sent to Venezuelan states during the country's windfall oil revenues period. Based on her assessment of the financial performance of the Venezuelan Government throughout 2012, she does not hesitate in expressing that public expenditure grows and no plans are provided.

The deputy, who is a member of the National Assembly's Financial Committee, is positive that next year the Executive Office will handle the budget just as it has done it this year considering that it already faces a USD 100 billion deficit.

You have questioned in different meetings of the National Assembly the additional credits that have been approved to meet gaps in public institutions. Do you think the rise in expenditure is unjustified?

Absolutely. The Budget presented for fiscal year 2012 should have been more sincere; it should have complied with Article 311 of the Constitution providing that regular income shall be sufficient to meet regular expenses. The initial budget accounted for USD 69.2 billion and it later climbed to USD 109.3 billion. This shows lack of checks and balances. Moreover, the Government has hindered the role of the legislature, because it has not allowed financial auditing. To date, it is not known whether the distributed resources were really necessary. Additionally, adjustments have lashed states.

States were given USD 108 billion in extraordinary operations. Was that not enough?

Yes, the central Government worked out its issues through additional credits, which served to meet liabilities and send money for projects. Moreover, this prevented governors and mayors from achieving their goals.

How have the states been affected by the amendments made to the Organic Law on Financial Management in the Public Sector aimed at administering windfall revenues?

The amendments are quite negative. If the foreign exchange rate is adjusted, income arising from such an action is deemed as extraordinary and states do not receive any further allocations. Furthermore, government bodies are allowed to take on debts with no limitations. 

Considering the heavy burden of labor payments over additional expending, is it necessary to revise the public sector's payroll?

The rise in expenditure will mainly focus on settling payments in the current payroll and to fulfill electoral promises, particularly those in keeping with the welfare programs commonly known as missions. Budget gaps are the result of no planning to meet regular expenses such as that in labor. There is too much bureaucracy and we will see the effects in the future.

In the quest for further income, the Government created parallel expenditure facilities comprised by the National Development Fund and the Chinese Fund, among others. What are the effects of this architecture?

The president's strength relies on those funds. Some USD 95 billion has been administered with no regulations via those schemes.

Can the National Assembly exert control?

Discussions in congress shall aim at the need for controlling parallel expenditure.

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
The end of a cycle

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brazil on March 13 to demand the ouster of embattled President Dilma Rousseff, carrying banners expressing anger at bribery scandals and economic woes. A banner read "We don't want a new Venezuela in Brazil."

fotter Estampas
fotter Estampas