Completing a project to build 3 million homes for its suffering population is the next big initiative Venezuela wants to finance with its digital currency, the petro. The socialist government in Caracas says there is enough money and materials to fulfill the main objective of the “Great Housing Mission.”
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Minister Urges Construction Companies to Accept Petro
The Venezuelan Ministry of Housing is now joining forces with other government institutions to revive a state-sponsored program focused on the building of new apartment blocks for the masses. The leftist administration of President Maduro hopes to boost Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela (GMVV) using the oil-backed national cryptocurrency, the petro.
During the first government meeting in 2019, the housing minister Ildemaro Villarroel invited both state-run and private companies to support the ambitious plan, the Prensa Latina news agency reported. The official emphasized that using the sovereign digital coin to fund the construction projects will also help consolidate the economic independence of the South American country.
Villarroel insisted that GMVV has both the necessary budget and the construction materials needed to reach its target – the completion of 3 million housing units by the end of this year. The new homes will be distributed among Venezuelans from different walks of life with priority given to professionals, young people and senior citizens.
The minister added that over 2.5 million new homes have already been delivered and another 1 million have been renovated as part of the “Great Housing Mission Venezuela.” The program has also allocated over 1 million plots of urban land.
Mission Far From Accomplished
Faced with pressing economic challenges, hyperinflation and foreign sanctions, the Venezuelan government has put great hopes on the success of its cryptocurrency. Authorities in Caracas launched the public sale of the petro in October last year, but all buyers have been able to get so far are so-called “petro certificates,” not any digital coins.
At the same time, Nicolas Maduro’s administration has made a number of loud announcements about the petro. The digital currency was adopted as official unit of account along with the country’s redenominated fiat, the bolivar. Wages and pensions have been calculated in the state-issued cryptocurrency. The Venezuelan president promised special economic zones to stimulate its circulation and assured Venezuelans they’ll be able to purchase homes and property with the petro.
Venezuelan officials have been trying to convince partnering countries and organizations to accept the crypto for international trade deals. The Russian Federation, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the members of the regional “Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America” (ALBA) have been offered the petro, so far with little success.
The large-scale housing projects may also soon grind to a halt. According to а recent report, Russian and Chinese construction businesses have already pulled out of the country. Caracas owes over $110 million to the Belarusian state-owned Belzarubezhstroy, one of the few foreign companies still building in Venezuela. Minsk, however, has been reluctant to accept the repayment of the debt in petro.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Belzarubezhstroy.
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