Brazil’s Finance Minister Is Untouchable, Says Lula

In a press conference with various radio stations in Brazil, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the Minister of Finance, Antonio Palocci, will stay in his post.

"Minister Palocci continues to earn all the consideration I had for him before, have now, and will have in the future. And if you want me to say so, I will repeat it here: Palocci is and will remain my minister of Finance," Lula.

The President praised the minister’s performance as head of the government’s economic team.

"Palocci is a minister in whom I have complete and total confidence, and Brazil owes him a lot. I don’t know whether an economist could have accomplished what Palocci did in economic policy."

Drawing a comparison with the previous Administration, Lula cited economic achievements which, in his opinion, "have a great deal to do with our companion, minister Palocci": real growth in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which rose from 1.9% in 2002 to its present 4%; a decline in the inflation rate from 12.5% to 4.9%; and a drop in the unemployment rate from 11.7% to 9.4%.

The President also referred to the maintenance of the primary surplus target (the money saved by the government to pay interest on the debt) at 4.25% of the GDP:

"Nobody accumulates a surplus because he or she likes to; we accumulate a surplus because we owe a lot. Our domestic debt amounts to nearly a trillion reais (US$ 451 billion), and we have to tell our creditors – who are frequently a large portion of the Brazilian middle class with bank savings accounts – that they will get their money back," he said.

"We don’t do this because it is wonderful to accumulate a surplus; we do it because it is a demonstration of seriousness," he added.

Agência Brasil

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