Venezuela’s Legal Minimum Income is Nearly Twice the Cost of Basic Foods


The legal minimum household income in Venezuela based on the 32.5 percent increase in the minimum wage recently mandated by President Hugo Chávez, when added to food benefits, is equivalent to about $700 per month, according to the latest household survey by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Accordingly, households with more than one income earn a higher monthly amount.

In an interview with Communications Minister Andrés Izarra on the National Radio of Venezuela, INE President Elías Eljuri said that the basic food basket – some 50 items equivalent to 2,200 calories per person per day – costs $430 per month.

Based on this data, and according to the National Household Survey conducted by the INE for the last 45 years, Eljuri said that Venezuelan households generally have two incomes.

He added that about four million Venezuelan children benefit from food programs at the Bolivarian public schools each day, and another two million people visit Venezuela’s more than 6,000 casas de alimentación, or community kitchens, which offer two free meals.

The economist highlighted that the National Index of Consumer Prices as calculated by the INE and Central Bank has fallen by 0.9 percent, and could be further reduced for April.

Meanwhile, economic growth in the previous period closed at 4 percent, and according to forecasts, will stand at 5 percent by the end of 2012.

Eljuri said that some opposition sectors that criticize inflation tend to forget that it reached 45 to 60 percent under previous governments in the 1990s, compared to 12 to 22 percent under President Chávez.

Eljuri also pointed out that unemployment has dropped from 14.6 percent to 7.9 percent since President Chávez entered office in 1999.


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