On January 4, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that his administration’s main objective for this year is to achieve a fully digitized economy, thus promoting e-payments through credit and debit cards. He also intends to encourage more bank accounts in foreign currencies to be opened. More news regarding the Executive’s plans is expected in the coming weeks. On the other hand, the country is to be under national lockdown until January 10, during which time banks may not serve the public.
Maduro urged the Superintendency of Banking Sector Institutions (Sudeban, in Spanish) to take all the actions necessary to improve e-payment methods. “Let everyone have access to payment methods using debit and credit cards and more,” he said, adding that cash payments in Bolivars (national currency) will soon cease to exist.
The President explained that in 2020, 77% of commercial transactions were carried out in Bolivars and by digital payment means, while only 18% were cash transactions, mostly in dollars. He declared that U.S. currency has served as “an escape valve for incomes and trade,” and made it clear that there is to be no dollarization in Venezuela and that his administration will seek to strengthen the Bolivar. Finally, the Maduro government will seek to create new digital means of payment and current and savings bank accounts in foreign currency.
In relation to the lockdown, it is worth remembering that the 7+7 scheme was in place for much of 2020 and proposes two consecutive seven-day stages envisaging seven days of lockdown followed by seven days of commercial activities. In this sense, Maduro said that the measures are “fair and balanced,” and called for the backing of all citizens.
Finally, the government published the 2021 fiscal calendar for special taxpayers. The measure establishes the periods in which special taxpayers must file their VAT and income tax returns.