On presenting a review of his eight years in office, Brazilian president Lula da Silva forecasted that Brazil would become the world’s fifth economy by 2016. He also underlined that under his administration combating hunger had become a “national cause” and for him a personal pride.
“If it depends on Dilma (Rousseff, the president-elect) and Guido (Mantega, Finance minister), we will become the fifth world economy by 2016, and we are going to conquer that gold medal”, said Lula da Silva in direct reference to the Olympic Games to be hosted by Brazil on that year.
The Brazilian president made the announcement during the official presentation Wednesday before his cabinet of a review of his eight years in office and achievements in that period (2203/2010).
President elect Rousseff was also present at the ceremony held in the Planalto Palace, Government House.
“We are the pre-salt power (in reference to the vast pre-salt oil deposits), the country that will be hosting the World Cup and the Olympics” said an enthusiastic Lula da Silva who steps down from office next January first.
He said that “never before” a Brazilian president had presented a balance of his years in office, and in this case organized into six volumes.
Lula da Silva said that he is leaving with a public opinion support of 80%, which is a clear signal that what was promised was achieved, “but if we add those who are not dissatisfied the approval soars to 96%, almost unanimity, quite extraordinary”.
But he anticipated that “Dilma is going to do far more and achieve far more” during her administration that begins next January first.
“These volumes are a picture of the Brazilian society, to know what has been done and what needs to be done, and that is why God and the political system ensured Dilma’s election: my election, re-election and now continuity”.
But he made it a point to underline that it was Dilma who decided on the economic team, virtually the same names.
“She knows far more than I do about numbers and finance, so it was her who decided. When they came to talk with me (the economic team) they had spent hours before with Dilma”, said Lula da Silva.
Among the achievements in the financial and economic fields Lula da Silva said that unemployment was at its lowest rate (6.1%) in decades and for the first time “we have more formal workers than informal workers”.
He also mentioned that for the first time Brazil has become a creditor country and has “even lent money to the IMF, 14 billion US dollars”. At the beginning of 2003, Brazil’s foreign exchange reserves totalled 80 billion and now stand at 285 billion.
Lula da Silva also anticipated a record crop of 148 million tons of grains and oil seeds which has made the country one of the world’s top exporters.
The president paid special attention to the Program to Accelerate Development, geared to expand the country’s infrastructure and to “re-launch the railway industry and shipyards”, forgotten for over 18 years.
Regarding social advances Lula da Silva said that combating hunger had become a “national cause” and through special food basket support programs millions were lifted from indigence and poverty, which he described as the major and most dear achievement of his administration.
On education Lula da Silva mentioned the basic literacy program, the funding of universities and revealed that Brazil now publishes “more scientific papers than Russia of the Netherlands”.
“It’s not much, but Dilma is going to make far more”, he promised.
Finally he underlined that his two administrations’ achievements were materialized through the workings of a “truly democratic” system, with Congress and wide participation of the Brazilian society in the decision making process.
“We have consolidated institutions and they are working. There is complete harmony among the three branches of the Republic”, he concluded.