Brazil’s National Congress approved December 29 the 2005 Federal Budget, which sets aside resources on the order of US$ 256 billion (R$ 681.3 billion) to pay for the costs of the administrative machine, investments, and debts.
Investments next year should total US$ 7.9 billion (R$ 21 billion). In May the monthly minimum wage will be raised from US$ 98 (R$ 260) to US$ 113 (R$ 300).
The government’s budget proposal, sent to the Congress in August, envisioned investments amounting to US$ 4.3 billion (R$ 11.5 billion). The reporter of the bill, Romero Jucá, raised this total to US$ 7.9 billion (R$ 21 billion).
According to Jucá, this increase was possible due to the “tightening of federal expenditures.” The lawmaker said that the government will have a lot of cash on hand next year, thus permitting an increase in investments.
The 2005 Federal Budget stipulates US$ 1.05 billion (R$ 2.8 billion) in infrastructure investments intended to bring financial returns.
These resources are part of an agreement between the Brazilian government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), permitting the withdrawal of US$ 3.39 billion (R$ 9 billion) over a three-year period beginning in 2005, to be used to create a primary surplus in infrastructure projects.
In 2005 the first parcel of the US$ 1.05 billion (R$ 2.8 billion) will be passed along to eight projects. Over half – US$ 658 million (R$ 1.745 billion) – will go to highway reconstruction, conservation, and duplication.
The leader of the government in the Congress, Senator Fernando Bezerra (PTB-RN), emphasized that these funds will be essential for the restoration of 14 thousand kilometers of highway.
Translation: David Silberstein
Reporter – Agência Brasil