Given the increase of the parallel dollar in Venezuela and the restrictions decreed for the containment of the COVID-19, there are few options for Venezuelans to obtain bolivars in cash to cover certain services, among them public transportation. And it is precisely this sector that has more possibilities to access this currency in physical terms, according to Descifrado.
By MiamiDiario Editorial Staff
The use of foreign currency for the payment of public transportation is another modality that is gaining strength in the face of the scarcity of bolivars, whose main catalyst is how complicated it is to go and stay in banking agencies and ATMs, to safeguard social distancing and avoid overcrowding. To this is added the intermittent transfer of pre-pandemic values.
Given this panorama, many Venezuelans resort to selling foreign currency for bolivars in cash. In this scenario, the exchange rate is up to 20% below that of the parallel dollar, the main reference for currency exchange in Venezuela. Many users pay the urban/extra-urban fare with foreign currency, at an exchange rate between 250,000 and 280,000 bolivars per dollar, compared to a parallel rate of 340,000.
The payment of the ticket with foreign currency is one of the ways that users must acquire Bolivars in cash and get change for their currencies. Carriers even exchange bolivars for dollars at the previously mentioned exchange rate.
In the absence of dollars, there are other options
A second alternative is the use of transfers for the exchange or “purchase” of Bolivars. In case of resorting to this second modality, the requested amount must be transferred plus an additional amount that can reach up to 30% of the required amount.
According to a user consulted by Venezuela Al Día, who resides in Miranda, he managed to get Bolivars in cash with a 20% commission in the city of Caracas, while in his state the cost of acquiring paper currency can reach up to 30%.
“I had to get through an acquaintance someone to get me money in Caracas because here it is sometimes complicated to get, and when they get it for me they charge me up to 30%,” said the person who asked for the receipt of his identity.
BCV says one thing, but the economy does another
Resolution No. 19-05-01 of May 2, 2019, issued by the Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) was published in Official Gazette No. 41,624 dated May 2, 2019, which allows the free circulation of foreign currency as trust units for financial operations in the country. The convertibility rate of these must be governed according to the exchange rate published by the maximum banking entity daily.
Despite this guideline, the value of the parallel dollar is used by citizens and traders, including transporters, for the exchange between currencies and bolivars. The accessibility of the transportation sector to paper money makes it one of the labor niches with more possibility of handling the currency, so it offers a parallel market to acquire bolivars against the restrictions to go to the banking agencies.
Crime or palliative in the face of the crisis?
There are many users who, although they go to the transporters for the purchase and sale of cash, express their discomfort with the exchange rate they offer, either for the payment of transport or for this fiduciary operation, which seems to be booming as it becomes much more complicated to withdraw money at bank agencies and/or ATMs.
With information from Descifrado
Translated by: Aleuzenev Nogales