Brazilian lawmakers (Lower House and Senate) thanks to a generous recent 62% increase will be among the best paid in the world, ahead of European and US peers and also other emerging economies.
The latest adjustment means Brazilian members of Congress will be making US$ 204,000 annually, twenty times the per capita income of the country, when in Italy such a difference is five times, according to daily Folha de S. Paulo.
The approximately US$ 17.000 per month is higher than what lawmakers in the European Union and the Group of Eight most developed countries are paid (US; UK; Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia), points out the newspaper.
Political scientists Bruno Reis from the Federal University of Minas Gerais said that the difference between salary and GDP is evidence of the deep inequality existent in Brazil and in the scale of salaries.
However he supported the increase voted by the same lawmakers since “they seemed low compared to what high middle class professionals make in Brazil.”
The decision also benefits Dilma Rousseff since as of February first the Brazilian president will be paid the same as lawmakers (equivalent to a 134% increase), even when her salary will be half that of President Barack Obama.
The Brazilian president currently makes 6.800 US dollars a month. The increase is also extensive to the Vice president and cabinet ministers which represents a 148% increase.
This latest increase will also have a cascade effect on state lawmakers and city councilors since the first adjust to 75% of their federal peers, and councilors up to 75% of state lawmakers depending on the local population.
The controversial increase comes at a moment when the government has announced cuts in spending but pretends to level the Legislative and the Executive that has always been well ahead of the rest.
The minimum salary in Brazil is 510 reais (US$ 299) a month and should be raised to 538 reais (US$ 315) starting January 1st, 2011.
The Brazilian congress has undergone serious and numerous corruption scandals involving funds from the Treasury making it the institution less reliable for Brazilian public opinion.
Although impressive, a ranking from the corporate sector comparing the salaries of CEO and board directors working in the cities of São Paulo, New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong revealed an unexpected result.
The best paid are in Sao Paulo with US$ 620,000 for CEO in the manufacturing sector and US$ 243.000 for board directors: this compares with New York’s US$ 574.000 and US$ 213.000 respectively, according to Dasein Executive Search.
“Foreigners didn’t have an idea that in Brazil pay was so good, nor even Brazilians overseas,” said Adriana Prates from Dasein Executive Search.
The poll was taken among 80 professionals in each of the different categories and included the auto, steel, metal, minerals and construction industries among others. Companies involved have between 1.000 and 15.000 employees.
“In the financial sector salaries are even higher,” said Prates with additional bonuses up to 23 times a year.
However there are some back draws, one of them “personal security is a serious threat that discourages many foreigners” and believe it or not “the long working hours of Sao Paulo business leaders.”