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$3.83 A Month Offered By Venezuela President For Pregnant Women

$3.83 A Month Offered By Venezuela President For Pregnant Women
A little additional cash is being doled out to pregnant women by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
And the emphasis is completely on the words "a little."
A payment of 700,000 bolivars a month would be paid by the Venezuelan government to pregnant women, announced Maduro during his annual address to the nation. Even though on the face of fit, the amount appears to a huge one, but when the very high rate of inflation in the country is taken into account, the amount adds up to just $3.83 according to the latest rates of exchange of the local currency that many in the country are now following closely.
Mothers would get an additional 1 million bolivars, or $5.48 after the birth of a child.
There were no specific reasons announced by Maduro for the new doles. But after making the announcement, supporters of the president gave a standing ovation to him despite the fact that the money that is being offered is worth not much in reality.
There is extreme shortage of medicines, food, toiletries and other essential items even as the economy of the country is collapsing. And such essential items would not potentially be available to pregnant women from the pregnancy payments announced by the president.
The paychecks and salaries of Venezuelans have been devoured by the hyperinflation and therefore the very little amount in pregnancy allowance would be worth lesser in the coming days.
According to a widely followed unofficial exchange rate, one US dollar is valued at about 182,000 bolivars.
The government rate of exchange is not followed by most of the Venezuelans because it is believed to be hugely overvalued.
Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University and an expert in hyperinflation says that there had been a rise of over 4000 per cent in the rate off inflation in the country in the last year.
Maduro has been planning to distribute the rapidly devaluing cash of the country and the new pregnancy doles are viewed to be reflection of the president’s enthusiasm to do so. 
In recent years, the monthly minimum wages in the country has been raised several times by him. Over 4 million families were gifted a "Christmas voucher" worth 500,000 bolivars in November by him. However, the value of the voucher has now come down to bout $2.74 from the $12 value when the gift was given.
Price control in the economy has also been attempted by Maduro. There was confusion among customers earlier in the month after he ordered slashing of food prices in private supermarkets. Such stores had the liberty of affixing their own rates earlier.
The president has touted his efforts as being ones that he is undertaking ass a part of what he calls his war against countries like United States and others which, according to him, are waging an "economic war" against his regime. But the nation of 30 million has bene crippled by rampant corruption, government mismanagement and unsustainable policies, says independent economists.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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