Venezuela weekly review
-The National Assembly approved the 2004 budget in the amount of US$ 31.22 billion. The budget assumes a dramatic increase in tax collection of 37% and an increase in oil income of 19%. Moreover, the budget assumes the Government will borrow US$ 11 billion between new internal and external debt. Debt payments will be 45.5% of the budget.
-The Chavez administration continued claiming there was fraud in the petition drive for Chavez' recall. Chavez kept saying the Electoral Board would do the "right thing" as the opposition claimed to have gathered 1.2 million signatures more than necessary for Chavez' recall. The Electoral Board will verify the signatures with each verifier fom that office being surrounded by a Chavez supporter, an opposition supporter and one representative of the OAS and another from the Carter Center. Hard to question that process, no?
-The Venezuelan National Assembly approved a new US$ 1.5 billion issue which may come to market as soon as next week and no later than mid-January.