Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, said that the government intends to double per capita income of Brazilians by 2022, when the country celebrates 200 years of independence from Portugal.
“We will soon celebrate the 200th anniversary of our independence, and on that day, we will have to look back and see what we did to build our sovereignty, our development, and the well-being of our people. Our goal is to double our per capita income,” Rousseff told a business ceremony.
Last year, Brazil’s per capita income remained stable at 22,402 reais (US$ 11,429), according to official figures. By comparison the US’s per capita income is US$ 48,112.
In her speech at the ceremony marking the supply of construction machinery to 54 towns in Rio Grande do Sul state, Rousseff stressed the need for “strong infrastructure.”
She said that for a long period in the 1980s, her country did not invest as much as necessary in the sector. Rousseff highlighted recent investment in logistics and transport networks, and announced an investment of US$ 1.2 billion in infrastructure in the southern state, where she began her career in public administration.
The government plans to build a railway to connect Rio Grande do Sul with the country’s largest city São Paulo and farther north, she said.
“We need infrastructure projects. Our country need to be competitive, and we will only be competitive if we have strong infrastructure,” she said.
Brazil’s top two economic policymakers warned that high inflation will not be tolerated. Central bank chief Alexandre Tombini and Finance Minister Guido Mantega said at separate events the government will not hesitate in taking measures to combat high inflation.
Mantega went further and specifically stated that interest rates could move up. Next Wednesday the Central bank’s monetary commission meets to decide on interest rates.
Both officials, sometimes considered to be at odds over how to tackle inflation, shared the same tough language against a surge in prices that threatens the sluggish economy and President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election prospects next year.
“There is and there will be no tolerance of inflation. We are closely monitoring all indicators at this moment and will make decisions in the future about the best course for monetary policy,” Tombini told reporters in Rio de Janeiro when asked about market expectations there would be a rate increase next week.
His comments were rare because the bank’s board members are usually silent before making monetary policy decisions.
Some analysts noted that, for the first time in a long time, Tombini said he was “closely” monitoring all indicators to decide the next steps, which could be a hint an interest rate rise was imminent.
The central bank is under growing pressure to raise rates from the current record lows of 7.25% after inflation broke through the top end of the official target in March and curbed consumer spending in February.
Earlier in the day, Mantega told a group of businessmen the central bank could raise interest rates if need be and that there was no political agenda to block such a move.
“We will not hesitate to take measures, even measures that are considered less popular, like for example those related to interest rates,” he said.