Firing Freeze extended once again

March 29, 2005

The Government announced yesterday
that it will, once again, extend the firing freeze for both public and
private workers that make less than Bs. 633,600 (US$ 295) a month. This
is one of those tropical economic inventions that simply become useless
in real life. The firing freeze has been in effect since May 2002.
During that time, the official unemployment rate in Venezuela has been
as high a s17.1% and as low as 10.9%. This clearly shows that the
measure is in the end irrelevant in practical terms, but it makes for
great grandstanding on the part of Government authorities who parade in
front of the TV cameras, talking about protecting the weak and
increasing employment. In reality, there are many ways to circumvent
this regulation and it has been tried by both this Government as well as prior
ones.

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