In an election year, Bolsonaro announces a social program of more than USD 30,000 million

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, announced this Thursday a set of measures aimed at the lower-income population with which he plans to inject more than 150,000 million reais (USD 30,000 million) into the economy, in a year in which he aspires to the reelection.

The program, called "Income and Opportunity"search "increase the purchasing power of Brazilians, especially those with lower incomes"reported the Presidency in a statement after a launch ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

The measures include the advance payment of extra pay (13th salary) for retirees and pensioners, the authorization to use resources from a workers’ guarantee fund reserved for cases of dismissal or exceptional situations (FGTS fund) and facilities to access credits.

This is expected to inject "more than 150,000 million reais in the country’s economy"reported the government.

The far-right Bolsonaro, in power since January 2019, has been suffering a sharp erosion of his popularity, partly due to his management of the pandemic (which already leaves more than 655,000 dead in Brazil), but above all due to high inflation, which in February it was 10.54% in 12 months and continues to reduce the purchasing power of wages, especially for the poorest.

The war in Ukraine has worsened the situation, causing an increase in the international price of oil and its derivatives.

Given this escalation, the Brazilian state-owned Petrobras announced last week an 18.8% increase in the price of gasoline at its refineries and 24.9% in that of diesel, an increase strongly criticized by Bolsonaro.

The president will seek a second term in October, probably facing former leftist president Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), a favorite in the polls.

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In an attempt to curb the price increase, the Central Bank of Brazil raised its reference rate again this week, to 11.75%, its highest value since April 2017.

The largest economy in Latin America overcame a brief recession in the last quarter and closed 2021 with an expansion of 4.6% compared to 2020, when it suffered the greatest impact of the pandemic.

But for 2022 the forecasts are for a growth of just 0.49%.

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