Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his proposal for the country's federal budget for 2017 on Friday afternoon, indicating that a staggering 73.6 percent would be dedicated toward social investment.
Saving Chavismo in Venezuela
In front of a large crowd of supporters in Caracas, Maduro said 83 percent of the budget will come from tax revenues and 11.9 percent will be financed from special contributions for socialist enterprises.
Maduro said that only 17 percent of the budget would come from oil. Government planning calculated the figure with a barrel of oil priced at US$30.
Maduro presented the budget directly to the Supreme Court for approval. The decision bypasses interference from the country's aggressive right-wing opposition in Venezuela's National Assembly.
The Supreme Court had previously declared invalid all acts of the National Assembly after the organization swore-in three legislators whose proclamations had been suspended over irregularities when they were elected.
The Court ruled the politicians couldn’t be sworn in but the legislative power of the National Assembly bypassed the decision. Thus, the Assembly's actions were ruled unconstitutional and its activities were nulled by the judicial branch.
Given the legal situation, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could present the budget directly to the Court. The decree was ruled constitutional, meaning the National Assembly is unable to negate the budget because of its contempt for Supreme Court decisions.
Over the last couple of days, officials from Maduro's PSUV party have held street assemblies with thousands of Venezuelans to discuss and debate the 2017 budget.
“In a democracy like ours, the budget is debated by the people,” Maduro said on Wednesday
The final text was later presented to the president before it was signed and approved by the Supreme Court. Maduro previously stated that the Economic Emergency Decree allows him to push forward the budget without approval from the National Assembly.
Despite widespread economic problems facing the country, Maduro also noted that he has "been loyal to a dream, a people and a country, and I will remain loyal to the last breath."
The president also made reference to national liberator Simon Bolivar, saying that "Bolivar awakens every one hundred years when the people awaken."
Around 30 percent of the country's budget was dedicated to social spending before socialist president Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998.