Venezuela's Maduro Hikes Minimum Wage for Fifth Time in a Year
Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced on Sunday a 50 percent hike in the minimum wage and pensions, the fifth increase over the last year, to help local workers from the world's highest inflation rate.
Venezuela's inflation hit 181 percent in 2015, according to official data, though opponents say the true figure was more than 500 percent in 2016, while the economy shrank 12 percent.
The measure puts the minimum monthly salary at 40,683 bolivars - about $60 at the weakest exchange level under the state's currency controls, or $12 at the black market rate, reports Reuters.
"With only a 17,000 bolivars rise, a Venezuelan can barely afford breakfast for five days in his country ,where his beloved arepas (a popular maize dough) already cost more than 2,000 bolivars, and the price of coffee around 1,000 and one juice, around 700", reports El Mundo.
"In times of economic war and mafia attacks ... we must protect employment and workers' income," said Maduro in a TV program this week.
The Populist successor to Hugo Chavez attributes Venezuela's three-year recession, soaring prices and product shortages to a plunge in global oil prices since mid-2014 and an "economic war" by political foes and hostile businessmen.However, critics blame his political incompetence for Venezuela's economic mess. Constant minimum wage hikes have failed to keep pace with real price rises.
As reported in El Mundo.