The Brazilian government reduced the minimum amount necessary for the authorisation of foreign investments in Brazil from US$ 200,000 to US$ 50,000. The decision was taken yesterday at the National Immigration Council, organisation linked to the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The aim, according to a spokesman for the ministry, is to attract foreigners who are interested in working with small businesses, and to stimulate the generation of employment opportunities.
According to the council, even if the amount to be invested is less than US$ 50,000, the project may be approved, as long as the enterprise generates at least 10 jobs in a period of five years.
Further growth in Brazil is going to depend on renewed investments by the private sector, declared presidential Chief of Staff, José Dirceu, speaking at a ceremony celebrating 18 months of the Lula administration, earlier this year.
“It is important to point out that even with the difficult adjustments we had to make, the government is spending US$ 3.9 billion (12 billion reais) on essential investments for the country, such as basic sanitation and infrastructure,” said Dirceu.
These investments are occurring gradually by the government and the private sector. He added that the Brazilian Development Bank (Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) (BNDES) has been a “secure anchor” for such projects as it increases its own investments.
One government priority is highway repair. Dirceu reported that 2,106 kilometers of highways had been repaired and that services had been contracted for the conservation of another 37,610 kilometers, besides the placement of signs on 12,191 kilometers of highways.
Dirceu added that work on the Transnortheast and North-South railroads was underway again.
Through the Merchant Marine Fund, a total of 21 vessels had been launched and construction contracts for an additional 13 signed. The vessels will operate in Ponta da Madeira, Maranhão, Caravelas, in Bahia, and Barra do Riacho, in Espírito Santo. Some will be put to work for Petrobrás.
Dirceu announced that work on subways in Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador and Belo Horizonte was once again underway.
Dirceu said that one of the highlights of government investments was the rural electrification program, Luz para Todos (Light for All), which aims to give all Brazilians electricity by the year 2008.
The government has also renewed construction on 16 hydroelectric power plants. “During the last 18 months we have added 5,184 MW to the country’s energy grid and 5,116 kilometers of transmission lines,” he reported.
Finally, the minister said that the government is investing in digital inclusion. A service to provide internet access (Gesac) had set up 3,200 telecenters where 4 million people had become users. Dirceu announced that digital TV was on its way and would provide users with superior quality in sound and image, besides internet access.