Venezuela's president says he'll cut government's spending in response to oil price plunge

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Nicolas Maduro is ordering a cut in government spending as Venezuela grapples with a plunge in world oil prices that threatens to bring more hardship for the petroleum-dependent economy.

Speaking on television Friday, Maduro said that under no circumstances will social programs be affected by the belt tightening.

Maduro didn’t say where he’ll find fat to cut. But the socialist leader offered up his own paycheque for the culling and said a special commission he’s named will look at reducing salaries at state companies and ministries.

More than 95 per cent of Venezuela’s export earnings come from crude oil exports, and economists say the recent decline in prices will reduce the amount of dollars available for imports when Venezuelans are already suffering from widespread shortages and the world’s highest inflation.