JPEG - 9.2 kb

“All figures indicate that in the first semester there was an increase in the economic activity of around 10% or 12% of the GNP in relation with the results for the same period last year, but until we have the BCV official figures we can’t be sure of the magnitude of this reactivation.” , he said.

He added that this semester, the oil sector grew more than the non energetic sector. Thus, the former sector, which represents one third of the GNP, is reactivating, although the private sector is also undergoing the same process.

“In particular, the manufacturing industry is growing, and there are also signs of reactivation in the construction sector. These are two key sectors(...). Likewise, commerce, specially retail commerce, is reactivating. Let’s say that these are the three important sectors.”

He refused to give details of growth either in the oil or in the non energetic sector because he considered he did not have enough information at hand to evaluate. But he did assure that oil production was at a growing trend.

He indicated that as a result of the level of the lending interest rates on credit cards, there were expectations that a study would be made, with the purpose of fixing the rates. But economist Zavala is rather in favor of allowing banks to begin to readjust these rates on credit cards downward at their own will and convenience.

“It would stimulate the use of credit cards as well as consumption, because it’s an instrument whose use should be increased. Under the current circumstances of reactivation of the country’s economy, consumption should be encouraged as a means to increase production.”

Zavala explained that the recent BCV resolution, forbidding banks and other financial institutions from charging account maintenance and expense fees to account holders, was decided because banks were making these charges to their clients in considerable amounts.

“For a small savings account holder, charges for account maintenance costs, along with low interest rates, mean that in the long run, instead of benefiting from his savings, he has to pay the banking system for keeping his accounts. That’s why the BCV, for the sake of justice and equity, decided to ban the banking system from transferring maintenance costs to account holders ”

He added that the BCV has not considered any other resolution to protect account holders from service fees, since there are already several protective regulations, such as the prohibition of charging for holding current accounts or for issuing checks outside Caracas.