The Minister of People’s Power for Energy and Oil, Rafael Ramírez, affirmed that “the strategy is to maintain the Simón Bolívar Development plan running and operational through the Sowing Oil program with 88 projects that cost $125 billion from 2009 to 2013.”
In a visit to ‘Éxitos de Unión’ radio network, Ramírez indicated that important savings are being made. “Venezuela is one of the few countries that have funds like the Fonden [National Development Fund]; we have saved $57 billion in Fonden. Railway and infrastructure projects are running and will continue to run,” he explained.
“We have focused on having money to maintain our pace of investing, and in maintaining investments, the necessary inputs. We are in better condition to overcome any crisis, of course, we are aiming for a recovery of prices,” Ramírez said.
The Minister guaranteed that “we can resist and maintain ourselves in any situation,” and reiterated that “with no oil income we can work based on the resources we have.”
In affirming that it “is evident that we cannot have the same pace of spending of last year,” he noted “that all of the country had an exorbitant level of spending . . . just two years ago we were spending four billion dollars in currency for the importation of cars, a situation which has changed.”
Minister Ramírez said that current oil prices are not strange because “they were the prices we had in 2004-2005, and we have worked to reduce costs and spending by 40%; this 40% means that in every aspect of oil services, we are drastically reducing [costs].”
“Adjusting and reducing a situation of excessive cost, and adjusting the engines of the economy to an economic situation which can be maintained,” he emphasized.
Ramírez noted that Pdvsa, Venezuela’s state oil company, must “adjust to a situation which does not allow wastes, spending that is not a priority.”
The Minister, who is also President of Pdvsa, reiterated that among these priorities are maintaining development plans and social investments in areas of national interest.
He affirmed that the global situation has been monitored since last year. “We have been working on possible scenarios, without rushing to make decisions that affect our economic development; we have been watching the outcomes of this first quarter to evaluate or economic performance,” Ramírez explained.
Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 3, 2009