RIO DE JANEIRO, February 15 (Reuters) – The Brazilian government hopes to launch a coronavirus emergency relief package within three weeks, sources with knowledge of the plan said on Monday.
Congress needs to ensure the package, which will be worth 250 reais ($ 46.56) a month and last up to four months, includes measures to “compensate” the government, such as fiscal reforms and others, the sources said. It is unclear whether the numbers are per person or per family.
“It has to be approved within three weeks,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s important to fight the pandemic without breaking the budget, especially in an environment of inflation, unemployment … bloating debt.”
The Brazilian government’s lavish fiscal support package last year ensured the economy did not shrink nearly as much as many feared at the start of the pandemic. The move, which ended earlier this year, supports President Jair Bolsonaro’s support, and is seen as essential to protecting poorer families without any sign that the pandemic is coming to an end.
While saving lives and limiting economic recessions, the program incurs financial losses. Brazil reported a record primary budget deficit of 743.1 billion reais ($ 138 billion) last year, as crisis-fighting spending caused total spending to jump by a third and the economic slump hit revenues.
Congress is expected to be willing to expand the emergency measure. The source said the next few days would determine Congress to act.
The Ministry of Economy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
$ 1 = 5,3698 report Report by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Grant McCool