Venezuela decrees economic emergency

Jan 17, 2016, 9:39 PM EST
A view of Caracas and El Ávila early in the morning.
Source: Daniel/flickr

The Venezuelan government has announced a 60-day economic emergency to deal with the country's worsening crisis.

The BBC reports:

President Nicolas Maduro will govern by decree for two months. The edict includes tax increases and puts emergency measures in place to pay for welfare services and food imports. The government's move came as official figures released by the central bank showed that the Venezuelan economy had contracted by 4.5% in the first nine months of 2015. The emergency was declared hours before President Maduro delivers a State of the Nation address to Congress for the first time since his centre-right opponents took control of the legislature. The decree also instilled more state controls on businesses, industrial productivity and on electronic currency transactions.

U.S. News and World Report writes:

President Nicolas Maduro first declared an economic emergency due to "catastrophic" inflation and growth figures and then endured the indignity of a nationally televised scolding from the head of a newly empowered opposition Congress. Congress leader Henry Ramos wagged his finger inches from the president's head in a state-of-the-nation rebuttal that was broadcast live across the South American country Friday — unprecedented media access for an opponent of the country's socialist revolution. Neither Maduro nor his predecessor, the late President Hugo Chavez, had ever contended with a hostile audience for a speech to Congress, but foes of the administration took control of the institution last week for the first time in 17 years, carried to victory on a wave of economic turmoil. The government's Central Bank, which had kept key economic indicators to itself for more than a year, dumped a batch of new bad news earlier in the day. It said the country's economy contracted by 7.1 percent during the quarter that ended in September 2015, and inflation reached 141.5 percent.