July 3 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has raised the minimum wage by 50 percent, which the opposition has criticized as propaganda that will further damage the economy.
Maduro made the announcement on Sunday during an event in Caracas. He said the minimum wage of 65,021 bolivars a month will increase to 97,531 a month.
Maduro said the salary increase will be reflected in the wages of public workers, teachers, retirees and pensioners.
The new wage increase is the third Maduro has announced this year, which is the regime's attempt to combat inflation expected to rise more than 1,600 percent in 2017.
Henrique Capriles Radonski, governor of Venezuela's Miranda state and a key opposition leader, in a statement said the wage increase is meaningless because the Venezuelan economy is deteriorating and the government is not paying wages owed.
Jose Guerra, a Venezuelan lawmaker and associate professor at the Central University of Venezuela's School of Economics, said the third wage increase coinciding with the Venezuelan government printing more money will increase inflation.
"A wage increase funded by printing money has only one result: more inflation. The lesson not learned in Venezuela," Guerra said in a statement.
Venezuela's economic crisis, exacerbated by a fall in oil prices, has caused basic goods, including food and medicine, to be in short supply, unavailable or unaffordable.
Venezuela has gone through nearly three months of daily protests. Though there have been some demonstrations in support of Maduro's regime, most are anti-government protests decrying the country's economic collapse under Maduro's government and what the opposition says is the deterioration of democracy and the violent repression of peaceful protesters at the hands of Venezuelan security forces.