Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, announced Thursday night the nationalisation of the cement industry, a continuation of the nationalisation program started almost a year ago.
"We will nationalise the cement industry," Chavez said in a televised cabinet meeting. "All of the cement industry, everything that was privatised," must now return to state hands.
The cement industry is the second nationalisation affecting an entire industry. Last year, he decreed the takeover of the electricity sector.
The move is the first decision of its kind since the president’s constitutional reform was defeated in December. Chavez’s constitutional reform sought to allow for presidential reelection and hoped to push the economy closer to his brand of 21st Century Socialism.
Last year, the president launched a nationalisation campaign that included the electricity sector, the country’s top telecom company and key heavy oil projects.
Chavez ordered his ministers to take the needed steps to bring cement manufacturing under state control Friday. It’s unclear what the move will mean for foreign cement companies operating in the Andean nation, including Lafarge, Cemex and Holcim.
Chavez has threatened to expropriate cement companies in the past if they didn’t bring down prices.