40 Million Brazilians or 21% of Population Getting Government Help

Woman from PiauÀ­, Brazil, shows her Bolsa FamÀ­lia card Patrus Ananias, Brazil's Minister of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, said yesterday Thursday, September 27, that the Ministry's forecasted budget for 2008 is higher than 28 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 15.2 billion), a projected increase of 14% over the budget for the current year, which was 24.5 billion reais (US$ 13.3 billion).

The Ministry's calculations indicate that the income transfer programs – Bolsa Famí­lia (Family Voucher), Cartão Alimentação (Food Card) and Auxí­lio Gás (Cooking Gas Ticket) – are reaching 40 million people in the country, or 21% of the population, which means that one out of five Brazilians benefit from one of the programs.

According to data supplied by the Ministry, annual expenditures on income transfer this year should total 9.9 billion reais (US$ 5.3 billion). "The funds destined for social development have increased four-fold during the administration of president Lula. The issue of the impoverished population is no longer a marginal subject, it is no longer approached with paternalism, but rather as a key, priority issue".

Patrus Ananias participated, in the southeastern Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, in the Special Forum of the of the National Institute of Higher Studies (Inae), presided by the former minister of Planning João Paulo dos Reis Veloso, at the head office of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). Patrus Ananias said that the income transfer policies have a positive impact on the entire economy, as the benefited persons acquire a greater purchasing power.

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