Venezuela’s budget has always (even before Chavez) been an exercise in lying. Beginning with its premises, grandiose expectations of a growing economy, lowering inflation and ending with a total amount that is always increased by 20% with “added credits”. Then, there are Chavez’ parallel funds that are use as petty cash to satisfy his whims and indulge his exhibitionism.
Thus, you can always look at next year’s budget, promising 2% GDP groth, 22% inflation and no devaluation as another futile exercize.
But I found it interesting that in the middle of announcements of a revolutionary nuclear future, with as many as 4,000 MW to be “built” in the next ten years, during 2011 the Venezuelan budget via the Ministry of Electricity assigns only Bs. 1.5 million to Nuclear projects. That is about 577,000 US dollars at the lowest rate of exchange. With that amount, you could not even do the studies for an adequate site for the first nuclear plant.
But even more worrisome is that the budget for all of the Ministry’s expenses comes to Bs. 6.6 billion, a meager US$ 2.5 billion for a sector that supposedly was going to receive US$ 4 billion just to build infrastructure in 2011. Want to know how absurd this is? The Supreme Court’s budget is Bs. 4.7 billion, US$ 1.8 billion, 72% of the electricity budget…Do I need to say more?
We may assume that funds will be moved from other allocations to the now so important nuclear sector, but then you go and read that the budge for new housing in the 2011 budget amounts to a scant US$ 300 million, while Chavez said he was assigning it US$ 1.5 billion.
Clearly something has to give. While funds may be found for one or the other, they will be limited and in the end it will all end up in announcements that do not become reality, as new announcements are made.
It’s the story of eleven years of Chavez’ rule.