The Vice-President for the Economy, Tareck El Aissami confirmed a temporary occupation by the national government of 21 slaughterhouses, which had violated the agreed pricing policy. This measure will last 180 days and can be extended if necessary. The aim is to stop the flagrant abuses of pricing policy being committed on a daily basis by the owners of the abattoirs and ensure access to meat products for the Venezuelan population.

This measure is in response to irregularities committed by the owners of slaughterhouses after the government announced 100 days ago the cost structure of the meat industry as agreed with the owners. Retail meat prices are currently selling at almost ten times the agreed retail price.

El Aissami also requested the Attorney General’s office to initiate a criminal investigation to determine the responsibility of the owners of slaughterhouses for various crimes being committed in the meat industry. These crimes include diverting meat supplies to intermediaries to increase the selling price of meat products as well as extorting primary producers to pay in US dollars which he described as “economic blackmail”.  El Aissami guaranteed job security for the workers of those slaughterhouses being occupied and investigated, and stated that their wages will be provided by the national government.  “These measures will be taken to prevent meat from becoming a product of speculation and resale and to ensure that it reaches the Venezuelan family”, he concluded.

Reports from Venezuela say the footwear industry there is working at only 20% of its full capacity. The president of national footwear industry association Cavenal, Luigi Pisella, has said companies are finding it impossible to restock inventories because of high levels of inflation in the South American country. In recent comments to a national radio station, Mr Pisella said manufacturers faced a doubling or even tripling of the price of raw materials in a single month and were unable to buy in what they need.

As a result, he said the consumption of footwear in Venezuela has fallen from three pairs per person per year in 2012 to just 0.5 pairs now. He said this would correspond to a fall in the total number of pairs purchased by around 75 million pairs per year.

The most recent census put the population of Venezuela at around 31.5 million. With a similar level in 2012, footwear consumption nationally that year would have been 94.5 million pairs. And with the same level of population in 2018, current consumption rates would point to a total this year of under 20 million pairs.