Saturday, March 01, 2008

From pill popping to opinion polls 

In todays Ultimas Noticias we learn that Venezuela has become a nation of pill poppers. This comes via a statement by the head of the chamber of pharmacies who assures the public that there is no longer any significant shortages of medications. Out of 9,800 prinncipal medications only 2 or 3 are at all in short supply we are told.

This comes in spite of the fact that the consumption of medications has skyrocketed from 325 million units in 1998 to 480 million units in 2007. Per capita consumption of medications went from 14 in 1998 to an estimated 22 in 2008 according Stefano Zampa, head of the chamber.

Do all these pills really solve people's problems - probably not. But who knows, maybe they have a placebo effect.

In any event, once again we see that "shortages" in Venezuela, more than being true shortages, are really a boom in consumption outstripping supply.

Of course, part of the reason consumption has gone up so much is that more people have jobs. We learned yesterday from the National Statistical Institue that January's unemployment rate was 10.2%, down from 11.1% the year before.

Better still over the past year 276,666 new jobs have been created in the formal sector. The percentage of the workforce in the formal sector has now increased to 57.8% and those in those in the informal sector have declined to 42.2%. So clearly Venezuela has good news on the job front.

Finally, there are new polling numbers out showing that support for Chavez is once again rising. According to an IVAD poll Chavez's approval rating increased between December and February from 57.9% to 67.3%. This is an increase of 9.4%

Of course, whether this is a temporary boost from stopgap measures remains to be seen.

The same poll indiated that 72.1% of the population through crime was a big problem, 53.7% thought shortages were and 29.1% thought unemployment is a problem. Clearly Chavez needs to make sure his government focusses like a laser beam on the issue of crime.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?