Venezuela is currently facing a severe cash shortage, which has left most of its population with debit and credit cards as one of the few payment options. Some businesses are now even taking money transfers as a way to get past the cash shortage and keep up the sales.
The cash shortage appears to be getting worse, despite the government introducing new bills earlier this year. Opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra thinks a solution to the shortage could be changing the 100 Bolivar bill to 100,000. The bill was the highest in the country a few years ago but that changed when the government introduced higher bills earlier this year.
The opposition lawmaker said during an interview with the Televen channel that the bill needs to be changed to 100,000 Bolivars. He also confirmed that they had submitted the idea but they had not received a response.
The cash shortage has been going on for a while but it appears to be getting worse, with many of the new bills rarely seen in circulation. The lawmaker said they sent a letter to the president of Banco Central.
Late last year, the government announced that it would pull the 100 Bolivar bill out of circulation. The move has been delayed a number of times. Guerra says this could solve the problem for a little while.
The government blames the cash shortage on the people taking the bills across the border to Colombia. The decision to pull the 100 Bolivar bill out of circulation has caused long lines at banks from people looking to exchange them. The government has delayed the move at least two times this year.
The inflation is also making Venezuelans carry more and more cash when they do have it. The highest bill, 20,000 Bolivars, is around $6 with the official exchange. Guerra explained that the inflation has led to this and that the highest bill is not even enough to buy a carton of 30 eggs.
Cash has become so difficult to find in the country that businesses and people now dedicate to selling the cash for 10, 15 or as high as 20 percent. Cash back is no longer an option in businesses and Venezuelans can only get a small amount from ATMs, which quickly run out of money or sometimes give the amounts in the lowest denomination bills.