For the second time in a little over a month, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has hiked up the value of the national cryptocurrency, the petro, this time to 36,000 sovereign bolivars. The move has again been met with criticism.
Also read: Russia Not Ready for the Petro, Proposes Plan to Aid Venezuela Without It
‘A New Monetary System’
President Nicolas Maduro introduced a “new monetary system” on Jan. 14 which included another increase in the country’s cryptocurrency and a higher minimum wage in a bid to combat the “criminal dollar.” As the country continues to struggle with the world’s highest inflation – around 2 million percent – the leader of the South American nation said the move would protect the national bolivar.
“I want us to create a great alliance to produce and create new formulas of investment and financing,” Maduro told the Constituent Assembly in a video broadcast by local media. President Maduro said he would up the the minimum wage by 300 percent to 18,000 bolivars per month, around $6.70, and increase the value of the petro fourfold. His new monetary system will be based on the petro and he said he would stabilize the economy with his new measures.
But this isn’t the first time President Maduro has made such pledges. In December he hiked up the price of the petro, with experts and civilians alike expressing their skepticism, while the minimum wage was raised a total of five times last year. There is still no sign of a crypto wallet for the petro, the links to download it don’t work, and the Venezuelan government still strives to sell the digital currency and issue certificates of purchase to buyers. Venezuelans, meanwhile, are still fleeing the country’s dire economic situation in the hundreds of thousands.
Previously, when Nicholas Maduro hiked up the value of the petro and increased the minimum wage, he was slammed. It was the same story on this occasion. Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas consultancy Econometrica, wrote on Twitter: “The announcement will exacerbate both hyperinflation and economic downturn. The monetary restriction that continues, both for banking and for companies, is very dangerous.” He added: “They try and try to give the petro circulation. They ignore that the use of a coin is a voluntary act and in which confidence plays an essential role.”
Asdrubal Oliveros, director of Ecoanalitica, a Caracas-based economic research organization, told news.Bitcoin.com: “There is no intention to rectify the direction of the economy so it will continue on its deteriorating path in 2019.” Elsewhere, the leader of the opposition, Juan Guaido, said: “Today, Nicolas Maduro mocks the Venezuelan people, once again, after taking economic measures that only bleed more in the pocket of Venezuelans,” adding:
The Venezuelan economy does not improve with an increase of the salary.
Other Venezuelans told news.Bitcoin.com that they had little faith in the petro improving the economy. One law student, Rafael Gutierrez, 23, opined: “It’s not even worth speaking about it. The whole thing is a sham – and the economy is doomed.” Fabian Camacho, a 28-year-old software developer and systems engineer, added: “No one has and no one ever will have faith in the petro, nor Maduro’s economic knowledge.”
What do you think about President Maduro upping the value of the petro again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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