October 30, 2020
1. Controversy over public health system privatization was the talk of the week
The federal government caused a debate about the privatization of the Brazilian public health system, known as Sistema Único de Saúde (Unified Health System), or SUS. On Wednesday, the administration edited a decree with the intent of starting a debate over the possibility of allowing private financing of Unidades Básicas de Saúde – basic primary care health centers belonging to the public health system. The government faced criticism from journalists, specialists and members of Congress, especially due to the ongoing health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the controversy, President Jair Bolsonaro decided to revoke the decree. On the following day, during an event in Congress, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said the possibility of SUS privatization was “insanity.” However, during a live stream on Facebook on Thursday, the president said he will edit the decree in the next week and justified his proposal by saying that former President Dilma Rousseff had also argued for the same measure.
Valor Econômico: Oposição reage à proposta de Bolsonaro de transferir UBSs ao setor privado
Folha de S.Paulo: Bolsonaro revoga decreto que explora a concessão de UBS
UOL: Bolsonaro diz que vai reeditar decreto das UBSs e cita proposta de Dilma
2. Value of dollar on the rise in comparison to the real, currently at R$ 5.80
Throughout this week, the price of the American dollar was on the rise in comparison to the Brazilian real, ending the month of October with an increased exchange rate. On Thursday, the currency reached R$ 5.76 and on Friday it stood at R$ 5.80. The devaluation of the Brazilian currency occurs amid concerns over domestic public debt, which was affected by public policies enacted by the federal government in the fight against the pandemic, as well as by new lockdown measures in Europe, which in turn affected the prospects for global economic recovery.
Uncertainty surrounding the plans for structural reforms have also contributed to the devaluing of the real. The financial market expects the administration and Congress to get the administrative and tax reforms approved. In 2020, the Brazilian real had the worst performance in comparison to the currencies of other emerging countries. As of September, the real had an accumulated devaluation of 28.5%.
3. ANVISA authorizes importation of CoronaVac raw materials
On Wednesday, the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) authorized the importation of raw materials used in the production of CoronaVac, the Chinese coronavirus vaccine. Instituto Butantan – which is responsible for manufacturing the vaccine in partnership with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac – made the order in the previous week.
The vaccine is being developed amid political disputes between President Jair Bolsonaro and Governor of São Paulo João Doria. Bolsonaro does not openly support the Chinese vaccine for ideological reasons while Doria views the vaccine as a priority because an institute in São Paulo will be in charge of its production.
With ANVISA’s authorization, Butantan will produce 40 million doses of the vaccine. According to the state government, 46 million doses of the vaccine will be available in São Paulo, as ANVISA had previously authorized the importation of 6 million pre-produced doses.
G1: Anvisa libera importação de matéria-prima da Coronavac, vacina chinesa que será produzida pelo Butantan
Folha de S.Paulo: Anvisa autoriza importação de matéria-prima pelo Butantan para a CoronaVac
4. 15 days from municipal elections, Ficha Limpa law bars candidates
15 days out from Brazil’s municipal elections – in which people will vote for mayors and local representatives – the Ficha Limpa law has barred over 1,000 candidates from the race. According to the Superior Electoral Court, most of the candidates who were banned, 840, were running to become local representatives. 115 mayoral candidates were barred from the race as well as 46 candidates for vice-mayor. The Ficha Limpa law was created ten years ago and bans candidates who have previously been convicted of a crime from running for office.
The municipal elections will be the second election to take place since a 2015 electoral system reform. The new rules changed deadlines for party conventions and for candidates to join parties, as well as banning companies from donating to political campaigns. For this year’s election, the campaign period was reduced from 90 to 45 days and the time allotted for TV and radio advertising was also reduced from 45 to 35 days. The political campaign,including online advertising, began on September 27th. The time on TV and radio dedicated to political ads will run from October 9th to November 12th.
5. Brazil shares economic growth strategy for the next 10 years
On Tuesday, the federal government published its strategy for economic growth over the next ten years. The document aims to guide the actions of every department in the public sector.
The document consists of two parts. In the first, the administration discusses macroeconomic projections considering two different scenarios. In both scenarios the government plans for structural reforms that will guarantee economic stability.
In the first part – titled “reference” – the government projects that the country will have an accumulated economic growth of 27% by 2030. In the second part – titled “transforming” – the economy team considers the possibility of more significant fiscal reforms and an increase in education levels, leading to an accumulated growth of 46.4% in the same period.