Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro affirmed on Thursday that he would cut wages of high state officials before cutting social programs, if the national budget was affected by the recent drop in oil prices.
“If we had to cut something in the budget, we would cut the superfluous expenditure, we would cut our own wages as high officials,” he said during a public event with military troops in Caracas.
“But we will never cut one bolivar [the Venezuelan currency] of what we spend on education, food, housing... on our people,” he added.
On Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, meeting in Vienna, decided not to cut their oil production, despite the unprecedented drop of 30 percent in oil prices in recent months, and despite the fact that Venezuela was willing to do so.
Maduro informed that the drop in oil prices had reduced the national revenues of about 35 percent – Venezuela is the fifth exporter of petroleum in the world, but still guaranteed “all the social inversions.”
On Friday the president also formally established the Presidential Council of the Working Class, from the Presidential Palace of Miraflores, in Caracas. The council was created as a consultation mechanism for the government, based on a proposal made by workers on November 17, during the First Congress of the Working Class. That day, Maduro stated that, “Between the 12 proposals, they want me to create this council, well its is approved, and as such, the workers govern.”
The other proposals include the creation of the “first environmental-socialist bank [which] will be a fusion of the institution of the same name, recovered from bourgeois hands by the government,” explained the president. The bank will lend money to productive projects based on specific social and economic criteria.