CARACAS May 30 Venezuela will begin releasing
$2.1 billion in hard currency to companies that have struggled
to obtain greenbacks through currency controls, the country's
top economic official said on Friday.
Some $1.2 billion of the payments will go to small and
medium-sized businesses in the food, health, chemicals and heavy
industry sectors, Economy Vice President Rafael Ramirez told
Ramirez said $930 million more will be disbursed to larger
companies, including $486 million for airlines.
Delays in Venezuela's currency controls have left many
companies unable to import machinery or raw materials, while
foreign companies such as airlines have been unable to
repatriate revenue from Venezuelan operations.
Venezuela's local airline industry association said on
Thursday that 24 international airlines have an estimated $4.2
billion trapped in the country due to currency controls.
The finance minister earlier this week said Venezuela made
pending currency disbursements to six airlines, without
detailing the amounts.
(Reporting by Girish Gupta; Editing by Grant McCool)