Over the last 11 years, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has invested more than $330 billion in social programs and initiatives, an amount representing 60 percent of the country’s total tax income over the same period.
The information was given by Elías Eljuri, President of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), on March 9 in the main auditorium of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in Caracas.
Eljuri explained that during the 11 years of President Hugo Chavez’s administration, social expenditures, which saw significant and sustained growth, reached $330.58 billion. He also stated that tax incomes in the country over the same period stood above $500 billion, meaning that 66 percent went to social investments in health, education and food programs, among others, to improve the quality of life of the Venezuelan people.
One of the most significant examples of the government’s commitment to social policies is the School Food Program. The coverage of this program has grown by a factor of 15 during President Chavez’s tenure, including hundreds of thousands of additional children and youths.
In this sense, Eljuri explained that before the current Venezuelan government arrived only 252,000 children received free food at their school facilities. Currently, more than four million children receive two daily meals plus an afternoon snack at their schools.
Furthermore, the president of the INE highlighted that the priority given by the government to social investment is evidenced as well in spending as a percentage of GDP. In 1998, social expenditures represented eight percent of the GDP; today it reaches 20 percent.
In Eljuri's opinion, these achievements mean that the social policies established by the Venezuelan government have resulted in decreasing inequality, social exclusion and the number of Venezuelans living in poverty.
“Thanks to social expenditures and to the inclusive policies executed by the government, today we have more than four million kids eating at their schools, more than 900,000 people eating at food houses and millions of people benefiting everyday from health policies. All these social elements are transcendental for the welfare of the Venezuelan people, among many others like the social programs aimed at guarantee the food security,” Eljuri pointed out.
Bolivarian News Agency, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / March 9, 2010