CARACAS – Venezuelans are getting poorer by the minute as the country’s minimum essential food basket registered yet another spike in January compared with December of last year.
The Center for Documentation and Social Analysis of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers (Cendas-FVM) said in a report on Monday that the basket had an average cost of Bs.457.6 million ($260.38 calculated at Monday’s central bank official rate), representing an increase of 41% from December of last year and 1,795% year-on-year.
The increase affected that part of the population earning wages in the form of local currency (bolivars), above all employees from the public sector, pensioners and other minimum wage earners (about 66 cents a month).
The Cendas-FVM report states that it takes 381.37 minimum wages of Bs.1.2 million each, or Bs.15.2 million or $8.47 a day, for a five-person household to obtain the basket taking into account that the average monthly income of each household person is only $48 – including those receiving government handouts –, according to data by local pollster Dataanálisis.
All food items comprising the basket registered increases in January: dairy products and eggs (52.8%); fats and oils (52%); meats (50.7%); sauces and mayonnaise (50%); roots, tubers, and others (48.1%); vegetables (45.7%); fish and seafood (39.9%); sugar and salt (27.1%); coffee (24%); grains (22.6%); and cereals and their byproducts (12.7%).
“The minimum wage in Venezuela is practically useless,” said Óscar Meza, head of Cendas-FVM. “Who do you hire these days offering them minimum wage? Nobody,” he added.