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Venezuela's Chavez Takes Steps to Boost Economy


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is introducing a series of measures aimed at fighting inflation and boosting the nation's economy.

In announcing an economic stimulus package, President Chavez said Wednesday that he will create a $1 billion fund to encourage joint public-private projects in sectors such as food and manufacturing.

The president also said a 1.5 percent tax on financial transactions for businesses would be eliminated on the grounds it was causing inflation.

Inflation has been accelerating while economic growth dropped to 4.8 percent in the first quarter of this year. The South American oil-exporting country's inflation rate is the highest in the region, climbing to 31.4 percent last month.

In April, Venezuela said it planned to sell $3 billion worth of government bonds on local markets, in a bid to slow inflation and strengthen the currency, known as the strong bolivar.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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