On January 14 the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, attended the National Constituent Assembly (ANC, for its acronym in Spanish) to submit his administration’s annual balance and to make economic announcements. The president introduced reforms to the customs laws and the tax code, and authorized the sale of oil barrels in the Petro crypto-currency. The bills will be discussed by the ANC in the coming days. Since all ANC legislators are members of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, for its acronym in Spanish), the initiatives are likely to be passed.
Introduction of bills before the ANC
- Reform to the Tax Code to order and update the tax regulations. According to Maduro, the initiative will affect tax exemptions for “non-essential” imported products, and strengthening tax controls and penalties for non-compliance.
- Reform of the Customs Law to centralize tariff policy management and national production promotion in an inter-ministerial commission. Maduro plans to issue a decree reforming the Customs Tariff to facilitate Venezuelan exports which envisages including over two thousand tariff codes.
Announcements on the Petro currency
Maduro also made a series of announcements on the Petro crypto-currency, declaring that it has become the ideal system for national transactions, enabling him to authorize the sale of 4.5 million barrels of oil in Petro. He called on state oil company PDVSA to sell gasoline in Petros to Venezuelan planes flying international routes.
Maduro also ratified the legislative elections to be held to elect the members of the National Assembly. Although there is no estimated date yet, the Constitution dictates that elections should be held in December. “The greatest guarantees will be prepared to ensure the transparency of the elections,” Maduro said, inviting the European Union and the United Nations to participate as observers in the electoral process.
Maduro highlighted the achievements of his administration despite the serious economic crisis affecting the country, such as the strengthening of the Petro crypto-currency and the protection of workers’ salaries. “Despite the dramatic restriction on foreign currency income and the aggressions of the United States, we are succeeding,” the president said.