CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's government plans to auction dollars to private businesses that sell food, medicine and other basic goods amid widespread shortages.
Planning Minister Jorge Giordani said Tuesday the initiative aims to provide such sectors the dollars they need to import goods. Products like flour, coffee and butter have disappeared from store shelves in recent months.
Venezuela has maintained strict currency controls since 2003, creating a black market that now sells dollars at over triple the official rate of 6.3 bolivars. Falling oil exports and foreign investment have helped dry up the dollar supply.
The auctions launching next week will start with bidding at the official exchange rate but could sell dollars for much more.
Another government-operated currency exchange system sells dollars to individuals and businesses but only at the official rate.
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