April 26, 2019


1. Congress takes first step towards pension reform

On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies’ Justice and Constitution Committee deemed the pension reform proposal constitutional. The entire process took 62 days to conclude, but it has now effectively cleared the way for the government’s bill with the alteredretirement rules to be analyzed and voted on by the deputies. This is expected to occur in June. The progress on this matter was highlighted by President Jair Bolsonaro, who delivered a speech on all national television and radio channels in which he thanked legislators for their efforts. On Thursday, the deputies announced the names of the legislators who comprise the special committee that will analyze the content of the bill. Yesterday morning, President Jair Bolsonaro said that the minimum amount expected to be saved through the pension reform is R$ 800 billion (USD $203.95 billion) over ten years. Later, after being pushed by the press and legislators, the administration provided more details of the projected savings, which shot up to R$ 1.236 trillion (USD $315.1 billion) from R$ 1.072 trillion (USD $273.3 billion).

Folha de S.Paulo: Câmara aprova tramitação da reforma da Previdência
O Estado de S. Paulo: PSDB e PR vão comandar discussão da reforma
Folha de S.Paulo: Estimativa de economia com plano sobe para R$ 1,2 trilhão
G1: Veja as próximas etapas de análise da reforma da Previdência

2. Pensioners are the majority of the population in 33% of Brazilian cities

One third of all Brazilian cities have more pensioners than gainfully employed workers. Of a total 5,570 cities examined, 1,874 had more retirees. The data was released by the Pension Secretary and the Annual Report on Social Information. The current figure is likely to be evenhigher, as the numbers releasedcorrespond to the year 2017. Specialists say this validates the need for Brazil to enact a pension reform, end early retirement and ensureworkers remain employed for longer. Most of the people who rely on their pensions are located in the northeast due to high poverty levels – and in thesouth – where life expectancy is higher but it also affects São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the wealthiest Brazilian states.

O Globo: Um terço das cidades tem mais aposentados do que trabalhadores

3. Government to create new information service for foreign investors

The government will establish a direct line of communication with foreign investors within the next few days. The information service for multinational companies with a presence in Brazil will receive complaints, answer questions and send proposals for conflict resolution. The new system will work through an online platform, where companies can obtain information on applicable legislation and norms, as well as submit questions. This new service will be overseen by the Foreign Trade Chamber Executive Carlos Pio, a political scientist and advocate for economic liberalism who was formerly a professor at the elite Instituto Rio Branco, responsible for the education of Brazil’s diplomats. The team willinclude Renato Baumann, who holds a PhD in Economics from Oxford and worked for 15 years as director of the Brazilian office of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, along with tax experts and an auditor.

Valor Econômico: Bolsonaro cria ombudsman para investidor estrangeiro

4. Bolsonaro’s sons publicly criticize Vice President Mourão

The political disagreements betweenPresident Jair Bolsonaro’s sons and Vice President General Hamilton Mourão were once again made public this week. Carlos Bolsonaro, the President’s son and a councilman, published several tweets in which he complained that Mourão accepted an invitation to give a talk in Washington, D.C., where he was described as the “moderate voice” of the Bolsonaro administration. Carlos once again mentioned that when his father was stabbed during the presidential campaign, Mourão said that Bolsonaro would not play the victim. On Wednesday, the attacks continued with Carlos claiming that the Mourão goes against the agenda upon which his father was elected. He added that Mourão has his eyes set on the Presidency and criticized the Vice President’s apparent close ties withopposition politicians. Another of the President’s sons, Federal Representative Eduardo Bolsonaro, defended his brother and said the criticism directed at Mourão is merely areaction to the current political discussions. Mourão has said he has put the dispute behind him.

Valor Econômico: Filhos de Bolsonaro criticam postura de vice-presidente
O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro minimiza crise de filhos com vice

5. Court upholds Lula’s conviction, but reduces his sentence

This past week, Brazil’s Supreme Courtof Justice reduced the sentence of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to eight years, 10 months and 20 days from 12 years. Lula was convicted of passive corruption and money laundering for accepting a triplex apartment from a construction company in exchange for political favors. When now-Minister of Justice Sergio Moro was a federal judge, he sentenced Lula to 9 years and 6 months in prison. His sentenced was previously increased by the Federal Regional Court. If Lula is exonerated from all currently pending charges, he could be transferred from prison to house arrest or be granted the freedom to leave prison during the day before returning at night, by the end of the year. Should Lula be granted either of those options, he will have to pay R$ 2.4 million (USD $611,448) as reparations for the damage causedbefore he can leave prison. 

O Globo: Superior Tribunal de Justiça reduz pena de ex-presidente
O Estado de S. Paulo: Justiça avalia outro pedido de condenação