June 7, 2019


1. Supreme Court authorizes sale of state-owned subsidiaries without an auction

Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled to allow the government to sell subsidiaries of state-owned companies without prior Congressional approval or an auction. The decision was lauded by the Economy Ministry. The federal government currently has 134 state-owned companies, 88 of which are subsidiaries. The court overturned parts of a 2018 injunction that kept the government from selling these companies without prior legislative approval or an auction. According to the Economy Ministry, selling state-owned companies could generate over R$ 80 billion (USD $20.7 billion) for the federal government. In the oil and gas sector, opening up the market is also viewed as a key measure to boost the economy. Soon after the decision, the Federal Supreme Court followed up by authorizing the sale of a Petrobras subsidiary’s stock. Stocks were sold to two foreign groups for US$ 8.6 billion.

Valor Econômico: STF libera privatização sem aval legislativo
O Globo: Confira a lista das 88 subsidiárias que podem ser vendidas
O Globo: Bolsonaro vê “avanço” na decisão do Supremo

2. Bolsonaro short of votes necessary to pass pension reform

President Jair Bolsonaro admitted on a popular TV show that he has been having trouble organizing the 308 votes necessary to get pension reform approved in Congress. Conversely, he also claimed some representatives in Congress who were “weary” are starting to “give in.” According to Bolsonaro, even though it’s only a minority who are against the reform, some politicians are afraid of alienating their voters, resulting in lower support for the bill. The interview was Bolsonaro’s third appearance on public television, which reaches more viewers in lower income brackets. In February and March, the TV show received R$ 268,500 (USD $69,587) to air an advertisement in favor of the pension reform.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro admite não ter votos para mudar aposentadoria
SBT: Veja a entrevista do presidente Jair Bolsonaro
Revista Época: Governo pagou R$ 268,5 mil por propaganda no programa

3. Congress approves law forcing administration to follow demands of legislators

Earlier this week, Congress approved part of the “Imposed Budget,” which forces the federal government to fulfill congressional amendments to the budget. The decision could increase government spending by an additional R$ 9.5 billion (USD $2.5 billion) next year. The law increasingly limits the administration’s freedom to decide how to spend public resources, in direct opposition to the directives of the Ministry of Economy. The law also increases the amount of money destined to the execution of congressional amendments to 1% of the federal government’s net tax revenue by 2021 – increasing in 0.2% increments annually from the current rate of 0.6%. Starting in 2022, the percentage will change according to inflation.

Folha de S.Paulo: Orçamento impositivo é aprovado pelo Congress

4. President plans to ease punishments for traffic infractions

President Jair Bolsonaro said he will end fines for people transporting children without a safety seat. Experts have criticized the proposed changes the administration wants to make to traffic laws. “Every parent is a responsible person,” stated Bolsonaro with respect to the safety seat. Organizations that advocate for children as well as traffic safety experts are in favor of the seat. Currently, failing to use the safety seat is considered a very serious offense, resulting in R$ 293 (USD $76) fine. With Bolsonaro’s bill, the infraction will only be punished through a written warning. There are other changes contemplated by the bill, such as increasing the number of points a driver can accumulate before losing their license to 40 from 20. In Brazil, every traffic offense results in a certain number of points being added to the license. The bill also increases the validity of licenses by 5 years to 10 and proposes a lower fine for motorcyclists riding without helmet.
Learn more about the president’s controversial measures in Brasília Report.

TV Globo: Bolsonaro quer liberar criança sem cadeirinha em carro
Folha de S.Paulo: “Pais são responsáveis”, diz presidente; veja as mudanças

5. Hacker invades cellphone of Justice Minister Sergio Moro

For six hours, a hacker controlled the cellphone of Justice and Public Security Super Minister Sergio Moro. Moro, who is famous for his work onOperation Car Wash, had to cancel his phone service. The Federal Police and the ministry’s technology department are investigating the case. Moro received a call from his own cellphone number at around 6pm on Tuesday.Although he thought the call was suspicious, he picked it up, without an answer. He later found out there were messages being sent from his phone through the Telegram app. The hacker used the app for at least one hour on Wednesday. The Federal IntelligenceDepartment is not a fan of messaging apps, opting instead to provide officials with encrypted phones without access to these apps.

Folha de S.Paulo: Hacker invade celular do ministro da Justiça e Segurança