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Venezuela to Allow Foreign Exchange Brokers Along Colombian Border

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Jan 9, 2017, 7:40 pm
Reversing course, the Venezuelan government will now allow currency exchange houses (
Reversing course, the Venezuelan government will now allow currency exchange houses (Primicias 24).

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Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced new economic measures for his country; among them the installation of foreign exchange houses on the border with Colombia, as well as the rotation and ratification of ministers.

The president said Monday he will allow the legal exchange of Venezuelan bolivars for Colombian pesos through exchange houses that will be located in Ureña, in Táchira state and Paraguachón, in Zulia state.

Venezuela has experienced the world’s highest inflation rate in recent years, as its people have suffered from widespread shortages, rampant insecurity, and high levels of corruption.

Maduro’s move marks a U-turn in the nation, which since 2003 has exerted an iron grip over all foreign currency exchange. Maduro suggested that the policy change was taken in order to take away control from mafias that he alleges are controlling currency exchange along the border, aiming to destabilize the Venezuelan currency.

Few economists agree with this assessment.

“I have decided to approve the border exchange houses in San Antonio del Táchira and Paraguachón,” he said on national television. In addition, he announced changes for cabinet ministers who will be in charge of the 15 departments that head the Bolivarian Economic Agenda during 2017.

Elías Jaua, who was recently appointed minister of education, will be in charge of the pharmaceutical department, and Miguel Pérez Abad, who was vice president of the economic department, will assume the reins of the industrial department.

It was also announced that Aristóbulo Istúriz, who until a week ago served as vice president of Venezuela, will assume the leadership of the department of communal economy.

In addition, he appointed Nelson Martínezto head the petrochemical department, and put Ramón Lobo in charge of the public and private banking department.

Also announced were: Marlenys Contreras (tourism), Eulogio del Pino (hydrocarbons), Roberto Mirabal (mining), Manuel Quevedo (construction), Juan Arias (forestry and basic industries), Wilmar Castro Soteldo (agriculture), Vladimir Padrino López (military industrial), and Manuel Fernández (telecommunications).

Sources: La Patilla, Globovision

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Argentine Government Offers Workers Incentives to Join Formal Labor Market

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jan 9, 2017, 6:27 pm
Argentina's government is seeking to reduce its widespread informal labor market (

Español With the aim of reducing informal employment, the Argentine government is studying the possibility of financing for three years the contributions of new employees that are integrated into the official labor market. "We realize that the formalization process could involve a shock, and we are willing to make a financial investment to incentivize participation in the formal labor market," Labor Minister Jorge Triaca told the newspaper La Nación. Read More: Former Argentina President Kirchner Denies Husband Hid $1.7 Million in US Bank Read More: Argentina Still Won't See Investment Boom in 2017, Experts Say The initiative, which is being spearheaded by the finance ministry under Nicolás Dujovne, seeks to formalize 300,000 workers per year until 2019, reduce the precariousness of the pension system and prevent an increase in unemployment from Argentina's current rate of 10%. The government is currently undertaking a full analysis of how best to finance the initiative; options considered have included financial support from the Treasury, as well as tax exemptions. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); According to the initial policy drafts, the limit for such incentivization would be for gross salaries of up to AR $12,000 (USD $755.16). Minister Triaca hopes that the construction industry, textiles, and rural employment will be the first activities to experience improvement in the area of "labor laundering". Speaking to the news site Ámbito Financiero, Minister Triaca said that the intention is not only to attack informality so that more workers can enjoy benefits such as social security and pensions, but also to add volume to the mass of contributors paying into the system. In tandem, the government is working on a comprehensive review of the pension system, which would include, among other things, raising the retirement age, which is now 60 for women and 65 for men. According to La Nación, the Ministry of Labor has encountered questionable financial accounts linked to professional colleges and unions where millions of pesos are awaiting an uncertain fate. The government also hopes that the beneficiaries of its social safety net, will thus begin to contribute to the system. The government would obligate the beneficiaries of social programs to join the tax base, turning that aid into a balance in favor of entering the formal labor market. In February, the government will convene the Bureau of Production and Labor, which is comprised of the State, businessmen, and the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) to seek the endorsement of these sectors with regard to the labor informality initiative. Source: La Nacion, Ambito

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