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  • The Ministry of Economics estimates that the program would include 10 million people more in addition to the already 14 million low-income Brazilians who benefit from Bolsa Familia.

    The Ministry of Economics estimates that the program would include 10 million people more in addition to the already 14 million low-income Brazilians who benefit from Bolsa Familia. | Photo: EFE/ Joedson Alves

Published 26 August 2020
Opinion

The welfare reform called Renda Brasil was supposed to replace the existing social program Bolsa Familia. 

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, refused to accept a new welfare project by the Ministry of Economy aimed at expanding social support coverage while unifying existing cash assistance on Wednesday.

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After a meeting with the Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, Bolsonaro said that he would not send the project to Congress, as it was expected that if approved, the project would be presented on Thursday 27.

The welfare reform called Renda Brasil was supposed to replace the existing social program Bolsa Familia. The Ministry of Economy has publicly opposed the increase in public resources for social programs, as this could worsen the fiscal risk in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Bolsonaro is pushing forward a new set of assistance measures to increase his popularity in the path to reelection. In this sense, Renda Brasil was the government's latest bet.

The Economy Minister proposed that the monthly payment should be at the top 250 reais ($44.58) for which budget from other social programs would be reallocated, and the incomes of these social programs would be unified into a single basic income policy. Nonetheless, Bolsonaro wanted to raise it to 300 reais ($53.50).

 
"#Brazil l As he did with the indigenous people, President Bolsonaro vetoed financial aid for family farmers who did not receive emergency aid. The bill had been approved by both the chamber of deputies and senators."

The average current payment by the assistance program Bolsa Familia stands at 200 reais ($35.66). Bolsonaro argued that Guedes's proposal was not much different from Bolsa Familia.

"I can't take from the poor to give to the poor. I cannot take away 12 million people's salary allowance to give to a Bolsa Familia or Renda Brasil, or whatever," Bolsonaro said during an event at the mining town of Ipatinga in Minas Gerais state.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Economics estimates that the program would include 10 million people more in addition to the already 14 million low-income Brazilians who benefit from Bolsa Familia.

Bolsonaro is relying on social assistance programs ahead of the 2022 elections as on August 12, a survey from Datafohla revealed an increment in the approval rate of Brazil's president despite his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the study, 37 percent of the interviewees considered his administration as excellent or good.

Moreover, Bolsonaro's approval rating among people who receive this assistance -about 40 percent of the population- reached 42 percent.

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