April 17, 2020
1. President replaces health minister and asks for “return to normality”
President Jair Bolsonaro fired the health minister after a series of public disagreements about social distancing and the use of chloroquine. Nelson Teich replaced Luiz Henrique Mandetta. Bolsonaro – who had openly expressed his unhappiness with Mandetta – said he has talked to Teich, an oncologist, about a plan to return to normalcy. “What I have said [to the new minister] is that, gradually, we have to return to work in Brazil. This great mass of poor people have no way of staying at home. And what is worse: when they go back, they’ll have no jobs. The government cannot keep the emergency aid or any other measures going for long. We have already spent close to R$ 600 billion (USD $114.09 billion) and we could get to R$ 1 trillion (USD $190.15 billion),” he said. The president once again criticized social isolation measures put into place by state governors and mayors, who are trying to avoid mass contamination. More than 1,950 Brazilians have died from coronavirus and there are over 30,000 confirmed cases in the country.
O Estado de s. Paulo: Bolsonaro demite Mandetta após atritos
Folha de S.Paulo: Saúde e economia não se opõem, diz novo ministro
O Estado de s. Paulo: Leia mais sobre a pandemia e crise econômica
Ministério da Saúde: Acompanhe as informações do governo sobre a doença
2. Over 2.4 million Brazilians have had their salaries or work hours reduced
Data from the Ministry of Economy reveals that over 2.4 million people have had their work hours reduced or work contracts cancelled this week. Workers who have had a salary reduction are entitled to compensation from the government. Salaries can be reduced by 25%, 50% or 70%. Health and dental insurance must be maintained. According to the Ministry of Economy, government expenses from this benefit could reach R$ 51.2 billion (USD 9.74 billion). Individual agreements are valid for formal workers with monthly salaries of up to R$ 3,135 (USD $596) or who have higher education and earn more than R$ 12,202.12 (USD $2,320) per month. The aid package was established this month through a provisional measure, and must be approved by Congress within 120 days to become a law, or it will lose its validity The Federal Supreme Court could discuss the measure between today and the beginning of next week. It is likely that the Federal Supreme Court will approve the agreement, which means workers’ unions will have up to 10 days to reach an agreement with employers. If a collective agreement is reached at a later date and offers more benefits to workers, that is the one that will be enacted.
Valor Econômico: STF deve dar aval para nego,ciações individuais
O Estado de S. Paulo: Ministro defende validade imediata de acordos
O Estado de S. Paulo: Veja principais pontos da medida provisória
3. Companies will have a new line of credit worth R$ 50 billion
Banks are planning to provide R$ 50 billion (USD $9.5 billion) to companies in sectors that have been hardest hit by the global pandemic, such as energy, aviation and the auto industry. The aid will be distributed through a consortium organized by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). Companies in the retail sector could also get a line of credit, but this is yet to be determined by the group. The initial loan planned for energy companies is R$ 17 billion (USD $3.2 billion). Banco do Brasil, Itaú, Unibanco, Bradesco and Santander – the largest banks in the country – are part of the loan scheme. The line of credit will use companies’ assets as collateral.
O Estado de S. Paulo: Bancos preparam socorro de R$ 50 bi para empresas
4. Chamber of Deputies approves bonus for companies that employ young people
The Chamber of Deputies approved a reduction in taxes for companies that offer a first job to people younger than 29 years old or have vacancies for workers that are over 55 years of age. In order for the bill to become law, the text will have to be approved by the Senate and sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro. The government bonus is aimed at reducing unemployment and the number of informal workers. The bill needs to be approved by the Senate by the 20th of April or it will lose its validity. The bill, known as “Programa de Emprego Verde e Ameralo” (Green and Yellow Employment Program) reduces the taxes companies pay on top of salaries of up to R$ 1,567.50 per month. For workers older than 55 years, the bonus is valid for companies that hire professionals who have been out of work for over a year. The maximum number of workers hired under this scheme is 25% of the total workforce. The administration believes that the scheme will reduce the cost of labor for companies by 34%.
Folha de S.Paulo: Emprego Verde e Amarelo é aprovado na Câmara
5. Banks and private companies increase donations to combat coronavirus
Large banks and private companies have officially made donations to combat the coronavirus in Brazil. This week, Itaú Unibanco announced a R$ 1 billion (USD $190.4 million) donation. Last year, the company registered R$ 28.363 billion (USD $5.4 billion) in profits, a 23.7% increase of their yearly net worth. Other large companies and financial institutions – such as Bayer, Bradesco, Santander, Gerdau, Ambev, Rede D’or, Petrobras and Vale – have also increased their support. Their actions include purchasing 15 million surgical masks produced by Brazilian micro-enterprises, 5 million quick tests for the coronavirus and 500 monitors for intensive care units, as well as supporting initiatives created by Brazilian experts to increase awareness and track the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
O Estado de S. Paulo: Saiba como fazer doações para instituições públicas