MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, November 18th 2018 - 06:16 UTC

Brazil limits social benefits; admits it will miss 2014 fiscal target by wide margin

Wednesday, December 31st 2014 - 05:31 UTC
Full article 5 comments
The reduction in benefits, effective immediately should help the government save up to 18 billion Reais said incoming Planning minister Nelson Barbosa The reduction in benefits, effective immediately should help the government save up to 18 billion Reais said incoming Planning minister Nelson Barbosa
The future Finance minister Joaquim Levy said the 2014 primary fiscal surplus “perhaps” will finally be equivalent to 0.2% of GDP The future Finance minister Joaquim Levy said the 2014 primary fiscal surplus “perhaps” will finally be equivalent to 0.2% of GDP

The Brazilian government announced it will limit unemployment and pension benefits as part of its plans to shore up depleted finances and regain investor confidence. Likewise the Central bank said that following a fourth year of low growth, Brazil will miss its fiscal target for 2014 by a wide margin.

 The reduction in benefits, effective immediately via a presidential decree should help the government save up to 18 billion Reais (approx 7 bn. dollars) said incoming Planning minister Nelson Barbosa. However politically the measure will prove unpopular for President Dilma Rousseff, who vowed to maintain workers' benefits during her re-election campaign for a second term that starts on Thursday, January first.

A rapid deterioration of Brazil's finances after years of heavy public spending and hefty tax cuts has put pressure on Rousseff to introduce austerity measures to avoid losing its coveted investment credit grade.

The measures include an increase in the time a worker needs to be employed before they can request jobless insurance and a reduction in the payment of widow's pensions, as well as a number of restrictions to avoid fraud.

“There are many distortions in these programs. For them to be sustainable we need to make these changes,” Rousseff's chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, told reporters in Brasilia.

Brazil's widow pension payments have doubled in the last seven years and amount to about 3.2% of GDP. Countries with a much older population such as France and Japan spend 1.5% and 1.2% on those pensions respectively.

As to the primary fiscal balance of last month Brazil admitted a fiscal deficit of 8.1 billion Reais (approx., 4 bn. dollars) billion), which was the worst November on record.

Brazil's accumulated January to November deficit hit 19.642 billion Reais, with growth forecast barely to creep above zero this year. The Rousseff administration had targeted a primary fiscal surplus for the year of 1.9% of GDP or some 91.0 billion Reais to reassure markets of its ability to service its debts.

Incoming finance minister Joaquim Levy told the Valor financial daily in an interview published this week that the target had been lowered to “perhaps 10 billion Reais” or 0.2% of GDP.

Hitting the revised target would require a December surplus of 29 billion Reais - significantly more than any other monthly figure this year. Levy said the 2015 target would be set at the equivalent of 66 billion dollars or 1.2% of GDP while stressing the government would have to hack away a raft of subsidies if Brazil is to return to growth.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Britworker

    What happened? wasn't Brazil meant to be the worlds next tiger economy to rival China and overtake EU economies and put South America on the map. Infact, what happened to the BRICS? Don't here much about them anymore, should we start calling them the ICS?

    Brazil has an Olympics to pay for too, that's gonna bite.

    Dec 31st, 2014 - 11:38 am 0
  • ChrisR

    I have been on here for almost four years and all I have ever seen from Brazil is lies from The Liar Mantega and wishful thinking from everyone else.

    AND, it's going downhill from here.

    It's what you get for fucking with Mr. Market, but will DumbassDilma ever learn?

    Dec 31st, 2014 - 04:31 pm 0
  • Jack Bauer

    ““There are many distortions in these programs. For them to be sustainable we need to make these changes,” Rousseff's chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, told reporters in Brasilia”.

    WTF ? so after 12 years in power, they (Dilma, PT) finally realize there are distortions in the social programmes ?? what a load BS, because the most notorious and largest distortions, and which just about everyone is aware of, is the lack of control of the ”bolsa família', currently with about 35 million beneficiaries, the great majority of whom are still benefiting despite gross irregularities....this fact is simply ignored....and the government has no intention of addressing this issue, because if they did, it would translate into the loss of votes.

    Jan 01st, 2015 - 09:49 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!