Despite Tax Break, Brazil Scientists Still Drowning in Red Tape

Researchers in Brazil will no longer be hit with big import duties on research equipment, following changes made to legislation last week. Previously, taxes were levied on imports regardless of whether they were bought or donated.

The new decision extends the scope of a 1990 law that exempted from import taxes any non-profit organisations registered with Brazil’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) that were undertaking or funding research or teaching. Individuals are now also covered by the law, as long as they register with CNPq.


Stevens Rehen, a Brazilian researcher associate at the Scripps Research Institute, in La Jolla, California, United States, says the change in legislation will benefit Brazilian scientists.


But, he adds, high taxes are not the only difficulty they face when importing equipment. Bureaucracy is also a serious problem.


“I have to weigh every item I want to send to Brazil and get a consular invoice for each,” says Rehen.


In 2003, while at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rehen received donations of research equipment, including microscopes, computers and slide scanners, worth more than US$ 200,000.


Once the material arrived it was held by customs officials for six months, and the university was charged US$ 10,000.


The problem is not new. Rehen recalls that when the university ordered a machine for the laboratory he was working in as an undergraduate, it arrived more than six years after he finished his doctorate.


And, according to Rehen, when the material finally arrives, it is often outdated or broken. He says disagreements between different government agencies encourage the delays.


Brazil’s Internal Revenue Service, for instance, recently blocked some imports, stating that CNPq was in debt, he says. CNPq denied the statement.


In June, the government responded to these problems by launching an ‘easy import’ programme. But Rehen says that the situation still needs to improve.


“Different governmental sectors should have better communication between them,” says Rehen.


“New customs officials, with knowledge in biological areas, should be employed.”


He adds that researchers have a part to play too: “They need a better understanding of how the law works.”


Science and Development Network
www.scidev.net

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

Forced Contact with Brazilian Tribes Is Genocide, Says Indian Leader

South American tribes have denounced the call from American academics Kim Hill and Robert ...

Another Step into Brazil-Latin America Integration

“A ten-year-long dream that finally came true,” was the way Minister of Foreign Relations, ...

Extreme Security Surrounds Brazil’s Ex-Chief of Staff Testimony on Vote-Buying

The security section of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies has made special arrangements for today’s ...

G-7, Let the Poor Go Debt Free, Says World Forum in Brazil

On the first day of the official program of the V World Social Forum ...

Brazilian Beef on Its Way to Tsunami Victims

The Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association (Abiec), entity which gathers 17 slaughterhouses responsible ...

Brazilian Police Kill Drug Lord. Gangs Fight to Control His Cocaine Points.

One of Brazil’s most wanted drug lords was killed in a shootout with police ...

Brazil Confirms It Sold Training War Plane to US’s Blackwater

Brazil's aircraft maker Embraer confirmed on Friday, June 6, that it had sold a ...

Fed Chief’s Comments Scare Off Brazilian Investors

Brazilian stocks retreated on concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hiking cycle will ...

Brazil's Soar telescope

Brazil’s Push for Innovation: an Example to Be Emulated

Innovation is now widely acknowledged as an essential tool for development. Other nations would ...

Brazil Joins Neighbors to Fight Child Sex Tourism

South American ministers of Tourism, gathered Wednesday, October 26, at the World Forum of ...