Venezuela’s finance minister Nelson Merentes has admitted that the country’s economy has problems, as economic laws of late President Hugo Chavez have not yet succeeded.

Economic structural issues

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Nelson Merentes said the government had “improved” the living standards of many citizens, but not solved its economic “structural problems.”

Government subsidies have slashed poverty and inequality, but Venezuelans are struggling with the highest inflation rate in Latin America, slow economic growth, and shortages.Hugo Chavez died of cancer after 14 years in power and was replaced by his vice-president, Nicolas Maduro, who promised to continue his policies.

Merentes said the laws had to be reformed to stimulate development. “We need to enter a route of stable growth… and go through years where all economic factors are growing,” he said.

Government needs to reform policies

The finance minister’s statements were an unprecedented analysis of Venezuela’s economic issues coming from a top government authority.

Merentes acknowledged the government had an unpaid debt with Venezuelans when it comes to the economy. Many poorer citizens have benefited from the country’s oil reserves, which is the world’s largest, through Chavez’s social programs. However, his government’s monetary laws, nationalization of major industries, and management of public funds have been blamed for high inflation, under-performing industry, and shortages of basic materials.