A leading Venezuelan businessman rejected a new presidential decree limiting the profit margins of companies, vowing to take the fight all the way to the country’s Supreme Court. The President of the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fedecámaras) Jorge Roig, announced he had the backing of his organization and other business leaders.
”We are going to file a request for the 'Law on Costs and Fair Prices' to be annulled as it is 'unconstitutional' and 'discretionary'”, said Jorge Roig.
The law, which was imposed under year-long decree powers given to President Nicolás Maduro toward the end of 2013, sets a maximum 30% profit margin on business by companies and sets possible penalties of huge fines, temporary state takeovers, the closure of companies and the revoking of licenses to carry out business.
“In a meeting of the board of directors, it was unanimously decided to take legal action to request the annulment of the Law on Costs and Fair Prices,” said Roig at a press conference. “Not only it is unconstitutional, but also makes the situation of the country dramatically worse”.
Roig also criticized the government of President Maduro for imposing the law without any consultation with businesses in the country.
“It is not possible to control the national economy from your desk. It has never been so,” he argued, referring to the government.
Maduro, who was elected president in April 2013, announced that starting this week, the law will be applied with absolute rigor, as part of his battle to the “economic offensive” he says is being carried out against the country. He claims the “offensive” is a move by political opponents to turn citizens against him and cause public disorder in the streets.
With inflation reaching 56.2% last year and no prospects to the contrary, the measures implemented by the Maduro administration have had little effect on the country’s economic turmoil.
Venezuela is highly dependent on imports, which account for more than half of the processed food consumed in the country, according to estimates by polling company Datanálisis.
Fedecámaras, which is the largest business association in the country, has been a constant critic of Maduro’s administration and its economic policies.