Nearly 40 percent of all Venezuelan stores have closed —some of them perhaps permanently —after the government of President Nicolas Maduro increased the minimum salary by nearly 3,500 percent in one fell swoop, according the National Council of Commerce and Services of Venezuela.
Many of the companies, which had been barely surviving the gradual collapse of the economy, saw the salary increase and other changes announced last month as the fatal blow in a series of policies that have been gradually strangling their businesses.
The problem is that Venezuelan companies are being forced to sell at prices far below cost just as employee salaries are increasing 60 times, Uzcategui said.
What’s more, the regime has banned stores from increasing their prices to cover the salary increases, arguing that it is not necessary.
If they do increase prices, store owners or managers can end up in prison, Uzcategui said.