CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro launched on Wednesday a new highest denomination banknote worth 100,000 bolivars (about $30 at the highest official exchange rate or $2.50 at the black market rate), which will go into circulation on Thursday.
“As of this week, the new 100,000 bolivars bill will go into circulation ... to proceed to strengthen the policy of protection, social security of workers and the Venezuelan family,” Maduro said on the state radio and television channel.
Venezuela has been facing a shortage of banknotes and the Venezuelan Government blamed that in part on alleged money smuggling to the neighboring country Colombia.
Therefore, Maduro ordered the Minister of Interior and Justice, Nestor Reverol, to distribute the new 100,000-bolivar bill on Thursday under “great vigilance.”
Another factor is the soaring inflation, for which the figures have not been provided by the Central Bank since 2015, but which, according to Parliament, has accumulated 536.2 percent so far in 2017.
The shortage of cash has led to long lines of people queuing up daily at the banks, where only between 5,000 and 10,000 bolivars (about $1.5 to $3 – or $0.15-$0.30 at the black market rate) can be withdrawn per day from ATMs.
Maduro suggested on Wednesday to his ministers that “the definitive solution” to the undersupply of banknotes would be that 95 percent of the commercial transactions in the country, ranging from bus tickets to metro services, become electronic.
“That the use of physical currency be replaced, as it is happening in the whole world in general, ... I think is the basic solution because these people will continue to wage war on our banknotes,” Maduro added.