After years of default, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) finally published results of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) until the third quarter of 2018, officially announcing that between the third quarter of 2013 to September of last year the Venezuelan economy lost 52 ,3%. The Central Bank also estimates that inflation has reached the highest figure in the country’s recent history, going from 180.9% in 2015 to 130.060% in 2018. Regarding the latter, it is worth noting that it contrasts sharply with that provided by multilateral organizations such as the IMF, which placed it at the end of this year in over 10,000,000%.
Also, according to the results, the oil sector had a negative variation of 25.8% and the non-oil sector had decrease of 22%. On the other hand, the construction sector had a contraction of 95%, the manufacturing sector 76%, trade 79% and the financial institutions sector 79%. It is thus evident that the country during the last six years lost half of its economy, as a result of the deepening of controls, expropriations, administrative measures and reduction of oil production.
Now, while it is positive that the BCV has published the aforementioned figures, it cannot be overlooked that for years the entity violated the constitutional rights that we will comment below and failed to comply with several provisions of the legal system, especially with that which establishes its own function.
It must be remembered that according to article 28 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (CBV) everyone has the right to access documents of any nature that contain information whose knowledge is of interest to communities and groups of people, while article 58 establishes that every person has the right to timely, truthful and impartial information, without censorship. It should also be noted that Article 57 CBV prohibits censorship of public officials or public officials to account for matters under their responsibilities.
For its part, and in accordance with the above-mentioned constitutional articles, Article 14 of the Law of the Public Function of Statistics establishes: every natural or legal person has the right to be a user of the statistical information of public interest that is produced and process by the State.
Along with the constitutional and special rules on statistical information, we find the special law that regulates the activity of the BCV, that is, the Law of the Central Bank of Venezuela, whose article 7, in its numeral 13, states that it is a function of said entity to collect, produce and publish the main economic, monetary, financial, exchange, price and balance of payments statistics. This article, together with article 31 of the law, establishes that the management of the Central Bank of Venezuela will be guided by the principle of transparency. In this regard, and without prejudice to its institutional responsibilities, it must keep the National Executive and other State bodies informed, in a timely and reliable manner, to public and private economic agents, both national and foreign, and to the population regarding the execution of their policies, the decisions and agreements of its Board of Directors, the reports, publications, research and statistics that allow to have the best information on the evolution of the Venezuelan economy, without detriment to the confidentiality rules that apply, according to the Constitution of the Republic. All this constitutional and legal dispositions are particularly important since they clearly show that the BCV has not fulfilled one of its main functions, which is to publish information of interest to citizens and that would allow them to make decisions such as increase a lease canon or prices, among others, as well as take other actions to keep functioning.
Now, even though the BCV has finally release the figures, the fact remains that the omission by years did harm those who required such information to make decisions. Also, the action carried out by the BCV reveals a delay still exist in other organizations, such as the National Institute of Statistics, which is responsible for publishing, among other figures, those referring to unemployment, poverty and mortality, and highlights the importance that in the country the Rule of Law is in severe need of becoming strengthened, preventing constitutional and legal rules from being ignored without any consequence.
Luis Mariano Rodríguez Rojas
Legal Affairs Manager of CONAPRI