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Finance Minister Highlights Social Advances of the Revolution in Venezuela

Venezuelan Finance Minister Nelson Merentes highlighted the social advances achieved during the Bolivarian Revolution, which he said are based on the development of policies that attend to the needs of the population.

"Based on the political vision, the neediest citizens have been included without abandoning any social sector, gaining access to quality food, housing, education and sports. We have offered social protection to the previously unassisted. It's about generating more optimal living conditions for progress and individual development," he said.

Merentes spoke Tuesday upon presenting the 2014 budget proposal, which includes $86.7 billion, to the National Assembly.

He indicated that oil revenues for the year are estimated at $18.2 billion, while non-oil revenues are estimated at $51.7 billion. Taxes collected through the Integrated National Customs and Tax Service (SENIAT) should reach $50.4 billion.

The minister also presented the draft law on debt for 2014, a total of $17.9 billion destined for social and productive investment.

Lowered Poverty

During his speech, Merentes noted the advances of the Venezuelan government during the 14 years of its Bolivarian Revolution in different areas including the reduction of poverty, which is among the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015.

Indicated that the rate of household poverty has been reduced by half, down from 50.4% in 1998 to 25.4% presently. Extreme poverty was lowered even more dramatically from 20.3% in 1998 to 7.1% today.

He recalled that Venezuela has surpassed what it agreed under the Millennium Development Goals, which required the country to reduce poverty to 27% and extreme poverty to 12%.

Meanwhile, infant mortality has fallen from 26.5% in 1998 to 17% currently.

"The Millennium Goals have been met in these sectors. Poverty has been reduced during the Bolivarian Government," he said.

Improvements have also been seen in the distribution of wealth thanks to the many government-funded social programs known as "social missions" created by Commander Hugo Chávez beginning in 2003, which are designed to improve the living conditions of the population.

“Barrio Adentro, Mercal, and now Gran Misión Vivienda (the Housing Mission) are some of the social policies that are the guarantees of Venezuela’s economic development.  The missions are a link through which the state has allowed wealth to reach the least fortunate," he said.

AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the US / October 23, 2013

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