Homeless people in San Francisco, during the crisis period of the corona virus. Image credit for: Aljazeera
On February 26, 2020, the first case of Covid – 19 was registered in Brazil. As in many other countries, the coronavirus epidemic spread rapidly in Brazil. On Sunday, April 5th 2020, 11130 people were infected (with a total population of 209 million) and 486 deaths have occurred in this country. In the past three weeks, Brazilian authorities have recommended people stay at home, avoid agglomeration and leave their homes only for emergencies. Trade has been closed. As in other countries, only pharmacies, supermarkets, taking services in restaurants, gas stations and several other important services still function. Many people cannot work and cannot afford enough to survive.
Brazil is the first country in the world where the Federal Congress, with the agreement of all political parties, approves Law 10.835 / 2004, which institutionalizes the Citizens’ Basic Income for all its residents, including foreigners who have lived in Brazil for five or more years. Although it was never implemented as an unconditional program in Brazil, this program gave rise to the means tested by the Bolsa Família program, which covers 14.3 million families today, or about 47 million inhabitants, almost ¼ of the Brazilian population.
Given the latest developments regarding the corona virus crisis, many civil associations are like Rede Brasileira da Renda Básica, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem Teto, Movimento Nacional da População em Situação de Rua, Union dos dosmentmentos de Moradia, UNEAFRO Brazil (among many others), and many economists, philosophers, social scientists, and people from various walks of life, from Brazil and elsewhere, have claimed the urgent need to implement basic income in the country. For that, on March 19th 2020, all Brazilian Governors signed a letter to the Federal Government “to reduce the impact of the crisis on the poorest sections of the population, especially those relating to employment and informality, and to evaluate the application of Law 10.835 / 2004 which institutionalizes Citizens. Basic income, to provide resources to protect this economically vulnerable population “.
Last week, the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil and the National Senate approved the Act, which was approved by President Jair Bolsonaro on April 2, 2020, which instituted Emergency Benefits or Basic Emergency Income without conditions (not depending on how the beneficiaries spent) providing R $ 600 (US $ 113) per month for all adults over the age of 18. It must be given to a maximum of two in each family, reaching R $ 1200 for each family, including all people who belong to families with an aggregate income of up to three minimum wages (R $ 3135) per month, or half of the minimum wage (R $ 522) per capita per month. For monoparental families, father or mother will receive R $ 1200 per month. If a teenager less than 18 has a child, he (or she) will also receive benefits (from R $ 1200). This allowance will be valid for three months, which may be extended for a longer period, depending on the continuation of the pandemic economic crisis.
In Brazil, around 75 million people are registered under Cadastro Único with less than three minimum wages. An estimated 15 to 20 million more are still registering, and can now do so through applications via the internet. Public banks such as Federal Caixa Econômica, Banco do Brasil, Banco do Nordeste do Brazil, Lottery House and private banks will work together to provide these Emergency Benefits or Emergency Basic Income.
Payments of R $ 600 reaching more than 70 million people, one third of Brazil’s population, over three or six months may imply an increase in demand for goods and services that can stimulate the production of greater supply of high priority goods and services. , with a positive effect in increasing employment opportunities.
Further information at:
“Congress approved basic income due to the coronavirus crisis while Planalto fought for protagonism“, Time24News, 31 March 2020
This article is based on a letter written by Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy (Honor’s Fellow of the President’s Colleague Basic Income of the Earth Network and Honorary President Rede Brasileira da Renda Básica)
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