Michel Temer
Michel Temer

Brazil’s newly-installed interim government said Friday it plans to lay off 4,000 high-level public-sector aides as part of an effort to cut spending and lower the budget deficit.

Michel Temer
Michel Temer
New Minister of Planning, Development and Management Romero Juca said the plan was to trim what he described as the bloated government payroll left behind by suspended president Dilma Rousseff.

“By Dec. 31, 2016, we want to have cut 4,000 such posts,” said Juca, though he admitted he didn’t know “how much the government will save by these cuts.”

There are 51 different categories of aides working in government and they will be reviewed, Juca told reporters at a press conference a day after Rousseff’s vice president, Michel Temer, was made acting president and introduced his new cabinet.

“We will change the organizational structure of the ministries. Several have already been incorporated or assigned to other ministries,” he added.

Juca spoke with reporters following the interim government’s first cabinet meeting.

“All state banks and companies are going to go through this … through adjustments. They will have to present results and spending reductions,” he said, adding “we have to spend little in internal procedures and invest a lot in attending to the people.”

While the layoffs “won’t solve the problem of public spending and the target deficit … it is a position the government must adopt as an example to society,” said Juca.

Rousseff was suspended on Thursday pending an impeachment trial that could take six months. She is accused of covering up public deficits to enhance her chances of winning reelection in 2014.

Also Friday, new Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said the interim government’s first task will be to rein in public spending, which outstrips tax collection and generates a deficit.

“We have to control the rise in public spending,” he told Brazilian news channel Globo TV, adding the new government must “tell the truth” about the country’s economic situation.

Rousseff’s government projected Brazil’s deficit this year would ring in at more than 96.6 billion reals (27.6 billion U.S. dollars), said Meirelles, adding “everything indicates the number will be larger than this.”

Meirelles served as president of Brazil’s central bank during the administration of Rousseff’s predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010).

The new Finance chief indicated the government is looking to make changes to the pension law to help alleviate public-sector spending, but provided few details.

“There will be a minimum retirement age. We are studying the rules of transition,” he said.

He dismissed tax increases, however, saying “the tax burden is already high.

Key social programs put in place by Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT), and recognized by international agencies such as the World Bank for their effectiveness, are to remain untouched, said Meirelles.

A package of economic measures will be unveiled “at the right time,” said the finance minister.

“This government begins today, we are getting the concrete data on the situation of the Brazilian state and economy. The measures will be announced at the right time, when they have the potential to be approved by the National Congress,” he said.

On Monday, the new heads of the central bank and other state banks are to be announced. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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