According to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the building industry has never gotten as much attention from the government as it is getting now. Lula spoke at a ceremony celebrating the launch of a package of incentives for the housing sector.
The incentives for construction include US$ 3.9 billion for housing loans from passbook savings accounts (an amount that is 90% more than was available last year).
Another measure will boost funding for slum improvement (Fundo Nacional de Habitação de Interesse Social) (FNHIS). from US$ 50 million to US$ 457 million.
The government also announced tax reductions on building materials. Lula declared that the measures will mean an increase in civil construction as a part of the country’s GDP, and will mean more jobs.
Just last week, the Federal Mortgage and Savings Bank (Caixa Econômica Federal) (CEF), a state-controlled banking institution, announced that it will have US$ 4.9 billion for the housing sector this year. It is estimated that the private sector will have an additional US$ 2.7 billion.
According to the president of the CEF, Jorge Mattoso, the total, US$ 7.6 billion, is the largest amount made available in over two decades. He pointed out that last year the total amount was US$ 6.1 billion (with US$ 2.1 billion coming from the private sector).
"Our target is the low-income family. Last year 79% of our loans went to families with monthly incomes of up to US$ 670 (the equivalent of five minimum wages)," says Mattoso, adding that the increased availability of financial resources is the result of federal government policies and improvements in the legislation governing the sector.