June 5, 2020


1. 3.9 million high-earners received government assistance intended for the poor

Almost 3.9 million people from what are considered high-income families – receiving per capita incomes over R$ 1,780 (USD $358.40) a month – have received the R$ 600 (USD $120.80) emergency aid offered by the federal government to low-income Brazilians. The information comes from a poll by Instituto Locomotiva in which 2,006 people in 72 cities were interviewed. According to the poll, 55% of families from rich and upper middle classes claim to have had their income reduced due to the economic crisis and 36% have a family member who had to close their business. Up to now, R$ 74.6 billion (USD $15.01 billion) has been distributed to 57.9 million people. Receiving the benefit without meeting the requirements is classed as fraud and the number of people who have omitted their family income in order to receive the benefit could be even larger. A preliminary report by the Federal Court of Accounts claims that 8.1 million people received the benefit unduly and 2.3 million people who should have received the benefit were left out. The aid was created to help small business owners, informal workers and the unemployed who have an individual income of up to R$ 522.50 (USD $105.14) a month or a family income of up to R$ 3,135 (USD $630.84) a month.

Valor Econômico: Mais ricos recebem auxílio emergencial para pobres
O Estado de S. Paulo: Auxílio pode ter sido pago a 8,1 milhões indevidamente
O Globo: Filhos da classe média recebem ajuda indevida, diz TCU
CNN: Não é papel da Caixa filtrar pagamentos, diz presidente do banco

2. Offices reopen while coronavirus kills one Brazilian every minute

São Paulo’s City Hall authorized offices and car dealers to open as of today, as long as they follow sanitation rules. One hundred days after the first case of the coronavirus was registered in Brazil, the disease now kills one person every minute in the country. 1,483 people died on Thursday alone. In total, more than 34,000 Brazilians have died. The death toll puts the country in third place in number of deaths, behind only the United Kingdom and the United States. There have been over 614,000 confirmed cases of the disease in Brazil. According to data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, 254,963 infected patients have recovered, a rate of 41.5% of all people infected. States and cities have begun to ease restrictions on activities based on the number of ICU vacancies and the decreased pace of the disease spreading. Measures to prevent the spread such as wearing masks and avoiding crowds continue to be mandatory. Virologists say it is still too early to go back to “normal” and fear a new wave of contamination.

Folha de S.Paulo: Após 100 dias, coronavírus mata 1 por minuto
G1: Atendimento público é liberado em escritórios de SP
O Estado de S. Paulo: Veja como está a reabertura em cada cidade
TV Globo: Para cientistas, retomada precoce oferece riscos

3. Bolsonaro vetoes R$ 8.6 billion to fight COVID-19

President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed sending R$ 8.6 billion (USD $1.73 billion) to governors and mayors to use in the fight against the coronavirus. Governors and legislators criticized the decision. The amount – which was not in use by the central bank – was required by the administration’s economy team to pay the public debt, but Congress tried to change its destination to no avail. The administration claimed that it was not possible to change the purpose of the funds and that offering it to states and cities would lead to a budgetary hole that would affect finances over the next few years. The veto came as a surprise to the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia. “The information representatives had was that there was a deal – including with the administration – to send this aid,” he said. A committee of finance secretaries from each state want to overturn the veto in order to use the money to buy equipment and materials to fight the pandemic. According to the committee, the amount is important to maintain states’ financial flow and ensure that public services are able to work normally. To try to overturn the veto, Congress will have to debate the issue and the majority of representatives and senators will have to vote in favor of the move.

Folha de S.Paulo: Bolsonaro veta repasse para estados e cidades
Valor Econômico: Estados se mobilizam para derrubar veto presidencial
O Estado de s. Paulo: Leia mais sobre a pandemia e crise econômica
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo
Ministério da Saúde: Veja Informações sobre o coronavírus no país

4. Drop in industrial production during the month of April is the worst in 18 years

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, the month of April saw the steepest drop in Brazilian industrial production over the last 18 years. The coronavirus pandemic is the primary reason for the drop in performance, but the sector had already been operating at low production levels since 2019 – despite experiencing a slight recovery in the first quarter of last year. The manufacturing sectors that performed best were food, pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene and cleaning products. The auto industry, on the other hand, saw an 88.5% drop in production. Other sectors such as the textile, oil, beverage, shoe and metal industries were also affected by the crisis. According to economist José Roberto Mendonça de Barros, these are distressing times and industrial recovery will be a gradual process. “All plants will have to set protocols in motion to protect their workers from the coronavirus when they reopen. This means slowing down the production line and making do with smaller groups of workers,” he says.

TV Globo: Produção industrial tem a pior queda em 18 anos
O Estado de S. Paulo: Indústria tem maior queda mensal em 18 anos

5. Man nominated by Centrão lasts only one day at Banco do Nordeste

Alexandre Cabral – the recently-appointed president of Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB) – lasted only one day on the job following the start of an investigation into R$ 22 billion (USD $4.42 billion) in losses during his time in charge of the Brazilian Mint. He was demoted by the BNB’s administrative council. Cabral had been nominated for the job by Centrão, a group of parties from the political center that offered support to the administration in exchange for increased participation in higher level positions within the government. Although he denies having committed any crimes this was not enough to allow him to keep the job. Now, a new person will be nominated by Partido Liberal, a party presided by Valdemar Costa Neto, who was involved in the Mensalão corruption scandal. Centrão is continuing its negotiations with the Bolsonaro administration and could receive two positions in the Ministry of Health, which has a R$ 90 billion (USD $18.09 billion) budget. So far, the group managed to nominate people to Itaipu, the Ministry of Education, the National Health Foundation, the National Department of Works Against Droughts and the National Information Technology Institute, among others. In April, the administration had already provided R$ 6.2 billion (USD $1.25 billion) from the federal budget towards bills proposed by representatives who support the government’s proposals in Congress. This was the largest amount of money ever offered in a single month since 2016. Representatives often use the money to fund works in their own electoral district in order to increase their popularity.

Folha de S.Paulo: Indicado do Centrão fica um dia na presidência do BNB
O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo libera R$ 6,2 bilhões em emendas a apoiadores
Valor Econômico: Centrão deve ganhar mais cargos no governo