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At Half Time, Lula Vows Again to Tackle Brazil’s Social Ills

As the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government completes two years in office and prepares to begin 2005, the head of Brazil’s Secretariat of Government Communication and Strategic Management, minister Luiz Gushiken, says that the priority will be the social area and hunger combat.

According to Gushiken, after two years of “house cleaning,” President Lula is ready to concentrate federal action on the country’s social problems.


“We inherited a delicate economic situation with the country almost bankrupt. We have spent the past two years putting things in order and now we are ready to deal with Brazil’s social ills because we see them as the country’s most important problem,” said the Minister.


Gushiken declared that the Executive branch’s main goal is to achieve economic growth with equitable income distribution and social inclusion through such programs as Zero Hunger.


“There is good reason to be optimistic about the future. We are moving into 2005 with a strengthened desire to get things done,” he said.


The minister added that in 2005 the administration would focus on the concept of social governance, which would mean a more dynamic relationship between social movements and the government.


Gushiken pointed out that 2005 would also be a time to concentrate on infrastructure.


“We have a serious bottleneck in the area of infrastructure. But we are doing much more than was done in the past to deal with the problem,” said the minister, adding that the government was working on the repair of the country’s highway system and ports.


Employment Falls


After five consecutive months of increases, industrial sector employment nationwide fell 0.2% in October, compared to September, reports the government statistical bureau (IBGE). However, compared to October 2003, employment was up 4.2%.


Job openings did rise in some locations. In the state of São Paulo they were up an average 4.7%, with the highlights in machinery and equipment, where jobs increased over 24%, and food and beverages, up 11.7%.


In Minas Gerais jobs were up an average of 6.6%, with the highlights in electro-electronic and communications, up 26.2%, and metals, up 18.4%.


Industrial sector payroll outlays dropped 0.9% in October, compared to September. However, they were up 9.8%, compared to October 2003.


Agência Brasil
Translator: Allen Bennett

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