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He exposed 10 fundamental goals, including the modernization of the computer systems belonging to the Ministry and its dependencies, "the institutionalization of the public financial system, and the creation of three new banking institutions: one for the Armed Forces, one for the Cooperatives, and the Treasury Bank".

The Ministry has also projected a training program within the Public Treasury administration, and plans "related to the popular economy, such as the integration of the Employees’ Savings Funds". He added that they intend to implement communicational, logistical, and methodological strategies to combat corruption and to achieve the established goals.

Tourism and employment

The vice-minister of tourism, Dalila Montserrat informed that the national tourism business sector generated over 2 million jobs in 2004. She explained that with a 367 million bolívares (Bs.) investment, the ministry granted 202 modules for the "Route of the Empanada" (stands for the sale of empanadas, a traditional Venezuelan food; along touristic routes throughout the country), as part of the Program for the Venezuelan Gastronomy; that generated 106 direct jobs and 1,218 indirect jobs.

Additionally, a 300 million Bs investment will be allocated to Conviasa (the new national state airline) in order to put it into operation, as of January of 2005; with especial flights to destinations within the country; and to improve the touristic area of the Tortuga islands.

These measures are expected to generate 2,506 new jobs and a flow of 48 million local and international tourists throughout Venezuela. These tourists are expected to spend a total of 10 trillion Bs in 2006 in the country.

Monserrat pointed out that, throughout 2004, tourism generated 5.723 trillion Bs and a flow of 34 million people along the different national routes. The greatest amount of income was generated by internal tourism, 5.02 trillion Bs (above the 3.29 trillion Bs in 2003); while the income from international tourists was 703 billion Bs (the figure for 2003 was 399 billion).

Of the 34 million travelers throughout the national territory, 33.5 million were local tourists(the figure for 2003 was 25.5 million). The number of international tourists rose from 293,000 in 2003, to 430.000 in 2004. It is relevant to point out that throughout Carnival and the Holy Week, as part of the Vuelvan Caras Mission (a program intended to train, and provide jobs to, the unemployed), a total of 14 centers of endogenous touristic development (development from within the country), out of 30 projected centers; were put into operation in several Venezuelan beaches. Additionally, there were business agreements in the first Major Business Round between Argentina and Venezuela, and a new thrust was given to bilateral tourism with China, Hungary, and Bulgaria.

Investments by the Fund for the Guarantee of Deposits and Bank System Protection (Fogade)

The Fogade investment portfolio reached 800 million U$. According to Jesús Caldera, president of Fogade, this amount reflects efficient handling of the portfolio in foreign currency. Caldera pointed out that at the beginning of his tenure, the portfolio reached only 702 million U$. He explained that among the reasons for this improvement is that Fogade has preventively increased its assets in euros in view of the ground lost by the dollar.

Effects of the Fishing Law

After three years of its approval, the Law on Fishing and Aquiculture has facilitated the establishment of 164 cooperatives of small fishermen. Alexandra Jecrois, president of the National Institute of Fishing (Inapesca), created in 2001; explained that her institution has promoted training workshops for these cooperatives in the states with greater fishing activity, as well as the cultivation of fish species in other states.

Published in Quantum N.45