CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela is hiking the monthly minimum wage by 150 percent to about $9.50, President Nicolas Maduro said late on Thursday, as part of the struggling OPEC nation’s frequent wage increases that have failed to keep pace with inflation.
The once-wealthy nation’s annual inflation now tops 800,000 percent, according to the opposition-run legislature, and citizens face chronic shortages of food and medicine.
Maduro said in a televised broadcast that the new monthly salary would be 4,500 bolivars. Citizens routinely complain they cannot afford basic items despite a 60-fold minimum wage increase in August.
The president says the country’s situation is the result of an ‘economic war’ led by opposition politicians with the help of the United States. His adversaries say failed socialist policies and indiscriminate printing of money are to blame for the country’s economic woes.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Bernadette Baum)