CARACAS, Friday August 22, 2014 | Update

Tracking codes to regulate trade of all goods in Venezuela

The Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria) said the Executive Office is not tackling the causes of the economic crisis

Although the tracking code system has failed to halt smuggling of food and medicines, the government will implement it in other areas (File Photo: C Pacheco)
Friday August 22, 2014  10:41 AM
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced the expansion of the tracking code system to control the distribution of all products sold in the market. 

"We are going to implement a tracking code system, like the National Superintendence of Silos, Warehouses, and Agricultural Warehouses (SADA)," a system to control the production, distribution, sale, imports, storage, and commercialization of food. "The same system will be applied to all products and supplies sold in the country's economy," explained the Venezuelan president.

Andrés Eloy Méndez, the Superintendent of Fair Prices, confirmed the move and listed some of the products that will be regulated by the control system, namely, personal hygiene products, cement, steel bars, medicines, food, and lubricants. "Everything will have a tracking code with the purpose of outlining a map of commodities in the country: where are the goods and their route, in order to avoid smuggling," said the official in an inspection conducted in a hypermarket in Caracas.

The business sector has alerted that this move would increase red-tape," and would not solve the problem of shortage. "They (the government) continue to tackle the effects, instead of the causes of the economic problems," noted Eduardo Garmendia, the President of the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria).

The economic figures seem to confirm his view. The government itself has admitted that smuggling has climbed, to the extent that between 30% and 40% of goods to be distributed in the domestic market are subject to smuggling, particularly food, medicines, and fuel. Paradoxically, food and medicines are two items which distribution has been regulated already through tracking codes for years.

Fingerprint-reading machines ahead

President Maduro also informed on Wednesday that fingerprint-reading machines will be installed in all supermarkets to regulate sales of products.

The Superintendent of Fair Prices justified the move, claiming it will allow "verification" of the amount of products each person buys. "The installation of fingerprint-reading machines is expected to be completed in all supermarkets and hypermarkets by November 30, in order to ensure verification of the amount of items purchased and fair distribution of products for Venezuelan households," the official remarked.

Translated by Andreína Trujillo