Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 16th 2015 Contents A20
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SAO PAULO---The Brazilian government s proposed
spending cuts and tax hikes are unlikely to receive
the congressional approval that most need to be
enacted, a leading political risk firm said yester-
The Eurasia Group said in a statement that Brazil s
Congress will likely reject most of the measures,
"prompting the government to seek other sources
of revenue that don t require congressional approval."
Finance Minister Joaquim Levy on Monday
announced nearly US$7 billion in spending cuts and
measures to raise tax revenue by some US$10 billion
to help balance public finances and win back the
support of investors and the business community.
The measures are also aimed at covering an US$8
billion shortfall in the 2016 budget.
Joaquim Levy says the cuts are to include large-
scale infrastructure projects initially aimed at stim-
ulating the South American giant s now-stalling
economy. Other savings will come from personnel
cuts within Cabinet ministry staff, as well as other
cuts to Brazil s bloated public sector.
Brazil s economy is in recession, and the economic
woes have contributed to President Dilma Rousseff s
plummeting popularity ratings, which have dipped
The government wants to revive a financial trans-
action tax to generate US$8.3 billion a year but the
speaker of the lower house of Congress Eduardo
Cunha has said it is unlikely to be passed.
"I am against it and I think it s unlikely that it
would be approved here," he told reporters.
In 2007, the financial transaction tax, better known
by its Portuguese initials CPMF, was extinguished
and subsequent attempts to revive it via a consti-
tutional amendment have failed. The tax consisted
of a 0.38 per cent charge on nearly all financial trans-
actions. The new CPMF would be 0.20 per cent.
"The government s strategy of heavily relying on
congress for both tax hikes and spending cuts strikes
us as very problematic," the Eurasia statement said.
"The bulk of additional savings and revenue that
require congressional approval is likely to be rejected,
with only a portion gaining approval, and only after
being watered down."
Levy also said the government wants to delay
public servant wage increases, eliminate certain retire-
ment benefits and institute a wage cap for public
sector workers---measures that Eurasia said will find
resistance in Congress.
The country s two largest trade union federations
criticized the measures.
The Central Workers Union said on its website the
measures go against the "needs of the workers and
of the entire country for they hamper economic
activity and reduce spending of social programmes
at a time when recession is affecting everyone."
Union Force said the government "continues to
give into the interests of banks and speculators and
turns it back on workers." (AP)
to face uphill
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, September 16, 2015
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