The Venezuelan government “will supervise” the prices of products from Alimentos Polar, the country’s largest food producer, as well as from two other companies that it accuses of having speculated, executive vice president Delcy Rodríguez reported on Friday.
The objective of this measure is that “the agreed prices of the products that are being manufactured, that are being produced, and also determine the recipients of these products, be preserved and respected,” Rodríguez said in a television message, in which he also reported of the 180-day “temporary occupation” of another company dedicated to the production and sale of oils, Coposa.
In this way, it hopes to “guarantee the socio-economic rights” of Venezuelans, “avoid distortions in the cost chain and specify what is affecting prices.”
POLAR, A REFERENCE OF VENEZUELAN FOOD
Alimentos Polar, a member of the Polar conglomerate, is one of the largest food companies in Venezuela.
Manufacturer of the traditional corn flour brand “PAN”, among many other products ubiquitous on the table of Venezuelans, will thus be subjected to a “sale measure supervised” by the National Superintendency for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights (Sundde) .
It will also happen to Plumrose, a sausage company, and to a slaughterhouse in Tumero, in the central state of Aragua.
“These companies were becoming speculative benchmarks. We want production levels to be preserved,” said Rodríguez.
The announced measures were adopted, Rodríguez explained, based on the Organic Law of Fair Prices.
This law contemplates that the Sundde, an entity attached to the Ministry of National Commerce, may “temporarily assume the activities of direction, supervision or control of the processes of production, distribution and commercialization of goods or provision of services.”
COPOSA’S OCCUPATION MAY EXTEND
Regarding the occupation of Coposa, the executive vice president assured that this will be for 180 days “that can be extended” and explained that the measure “seeks to guarantee production but preserve that it does not become (…) a speculative marker price” .
As he explained, all these measures aim to “specify the distortions that may be occurring, both in the structure and in the cost chain” and thus know what “is affecting the composition and configuration of prices” that directly “affect” To the population in general”.
As part of the battery of measures, Rodríguez explained that he held a meeting with the National Association of Supermarkets and Supplies (ANSA) and “a table was established for the agreed prices of 27” products.
“This table has already been established and there will be important announcements next week,” stressed the vice president about the meeting with the union that brings together the largest supermarkets in Venezuela.
MATURO ACCUSES MERCHANTS OF SPECULAR
This week, President Nicolás Maduro accused merchants of speculating on the prices of food products.
Although the Fair Prices Law had not been repealed, its effects, including price control, had been relaxed since June last year in a country that is experiencing a period of hyperinflation since November 2017, which has decreased in recent months. .
The regulation of retail prices of basic necessities, such as milk, sugar or corn flour, has been constant by the Chavista governments.
On several occasions since 2013, there have been several sales days with supervised prices that, in practice, have led to notable price drops.
The last case was in 2018, when Sundde carried out inspections of hundreds of businesses across the country, which – with the help of the Police and National Guard – forced them to lower the prices of some of their products. .
Those forced sales caused long queues and riots in businesses across the country, where supermarkets and other establishments were left empty after the discounts.
At that time, business associations warned of the possible closure of some of their partners by being forced to sell at a loss.