New York, .- The director of the Department of the Western Hemisphere of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Alejandro Werner, said Thursday that, after analyzing the state of Venezuela, it has been concluded that the reconstruction of the country would be a “titanic effort”.
“We have been working for the last five years with Venezuelan economists to try to understand what is happening and to know what measures should be implemented,” Werner explained at a debate held at the American Society in New York.
“It will be a titanic effort,” he said in reference to a possible return to normality of the Latin American country, whose economy has fallen apart in recent years during the regime of President Nicolás Maduro.
In 2018, Venezuela’s economy contracted by 15%, a sharp rise from a retraction of 9.5% in 2017, according to figures from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Werner pointed out that the contraction of Venezuela is the biggest that has been seen in the data handled by the IMF of a country that has not been affected by an armed conflict or a major natural disaster.
“They suffer from hyperinflation, a humanitarian crisis and an immigration crisis,” said the representative of the international organization, which said that in addition to working on these important problems, Venezuela should rebuild a productive economy and re-impose a rule of law in the private sector. .
He insisted that his knowledge of the economic state of Venezuela comes from the information they have been receiving from Venezuelan experts, since there has not been a dialogue with Caracas about the government’s policies.
“We have been analyzing the situation in case we are asked to help in the reconstruction of the economy,” he said.
Werner also spoke of the moment of uncertainty in which Mexico finds itself, where the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was inaugurated on December 1, and has presented a controversial project to boost the country’s declining oil industry.
The expert admitted that there is a lot of private sector analyst that is lowering Mexico’s growth forecast for 2019, as a result of the intensification of the doubt that occurs when there is a change of government, but asked for calm and time to see how the new one acts. administration.
“Three months is a short time to know how this administration is going to do (…) We have to wait a bit, it’s too early to judge,” he said.
Werner said that the plan for Mexico’s financial system has been well received, but that the policies affecting the energy sector have generated “a lot of noise,” and that people are “trying to understand exactly what it means.”
He also said that he is being too “tough” and demanding with the López Obrador government and that a “friendly” response from the immediate market is being requested: “People have focused excessively on negative things and have not been given recognition. to the government in positive things. “
“Fifteen months cost (former President Enrique) Peña Nieto to know what to do with the fall in oil prices, and we are asking them to react more quickly than the previous administration did,” he said.
He also pointed to the need for a rise in minimum wages in Mexico, which he said have been “far behind” the rest of the countries in Latin America, something he said, however, that he did carefully.
“You have to make it return to normal levels without giving the impression that it is a tool that is going to be used before any choice,” he said. (EFEUSA)