In mid-October, the Nicolás Maduro regime set the new minimum wage at 150,000 bolivars per month, which does not include the bonus for food that doesn’t affect the salary, and which amounts to roughly $8, according to parallel market exchange rates in Venezuela.
Venezuela has been suffering from hyperinflation for many years, which has affected Venezuelans’ purchasing power.
The country’s economic crisis is relentless, and the International Monetary Fund projects that the inflation rate will reach 200,000 percent by the end of 2019. Venezuela is among 41 countries with extreme food needs, according to recent reports from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
In mid-October, Voice of America visited a supermarket west of Caracas to check what could be purchased with the new minimum wage.
A 14-ounce pack of powdered milk costs 100,000 bolivars; four tuna cans cost about 149,000 bolivars; a carton of eggs is worth 130,000 bolivars, and 2 pounds of beef costs between 65,000 and 80,000 bolivars.
Buying basic hygiene products becomes a major struggle. The cost of shampoo exceeds 140,000 bolivars. At the pharmacy, the price of a generic anti-allergy medication can reach 120,000 bolivars.
According to the Venezuelan Central Bank, the Venezuelan Gross Domestic Product has dropped by more than half since Nicolás Maduro took office in 2013.
In September 2019, when the minimum wage was 40,000 bolivars (equivalent to $6), the cost of the basic food basket was 3.8 million bolivars (about $178) — that is 93 times the minimum wage — according to reports from the Documentation and Analysis Center for Workers in Venezuela.