Gasoline price in Venezuela down to USD 0.01 upon devaluation
Annual subsidies in gasoline are estimated at USD 1.7 million
Upon the latest devaluation of the Venezuelan currency from VEB 4.30 to VEB 6.30 per US dollar, the value of a liter of gasoline of 95 octanes slipped from USD 0.022 to USD 0.015, based on the official foreign exchange rate.
In recent days, the Executive Office has intensified its discourse on the advantages of the devaluation of the bolivar. Although the measure implies a 3.3% reduction of the fiscal deficit according to the authorities, ministers of the economic cabinet have ascertained that the action is not for fiscal reasons.
Economists Luis Oliveros and Domingo Sifontes have explained that upon the 46.5% devaluation, subsidies in gasoline may account for USD 1.7 billion a year. This is just the result of production costs, which are 10 times the price of gasoline.
For his part, amid concerns about a rise in the price of gasoline, oil Minister Rafael Ramírez said that it had nothing to do with fiscal needs, but a particular "behavior related to the squandering of natural resources."
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
The news marked an ominous beginning, health-wise, of the year 2015: the Cardiovascular Surgery Unit at Hospital Clínico Universitario, one of the country's largest teaching hospitals, was to close completely on January 5 due to lack of medicines and surgical supplies. All patients who were waiting to be operated on were sent home. More than 10 patients waiting for surgery reportedly died there from lack of basic medical supplies in the two months prior to the closure.