In the assessment of Minister Paulo Guedes (Economy) it is impossible for Brazil to have 33 million people starving. This Wednesday (21), he said he considered the data to be false, at an event in the automotive sector in São Paulo.
Guedes defended that, in comparison with other large economies, the Brazilian performance is better. “These are economic facts, it’s no use. The political tactic is noise: 33 million people are starving. It’s a lie, it’s false. These are not the numbers.”
The minister did not say, however, what the correct numbers would be, in his assessment. The data questioned by Guedes is included in the National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Brazil, which points to the existence of 33.1 million people living in severe food insecurity, when there is no guarantee of access to food. in sufficient quantity.
“The consumption of the most fragile is guaranteed with income transfers. Therefore, it is impossible for 33 million people to go hungry. They are receiving three times more than they received before. And even if there has been inflation and price increases, has not multiplied by three, so purchasing power is more than preserved,” he said.
He also said that current income transfer policies, such as Auxílio Brasil, correspond to 1.5% of GDP. According to Guedes, before, this percentage was 0.4%.
“We are transferring three times more resources to the fragile,” he added.
The minister also said that the percentage of people living below the poverty line has been falling in Brazil, while growing in the rest of the world.
The statement is similar to the conclusions of a study published by the president of Ipea (Institute of Applied Economic Research), Erik Alencar de Figueiredo, in August. The publication, criticized by officials of the agency and by experts, argues that an increase in the number of hungry Brazilians should have resulted in a “significant shock” in the increase in hospitalizations for diseases resulting from malnutrition. Figueiredo was Undersecretary for Fiscal Policy at the Ministry of Economy.
In July, when the government negotiated the approval of a constitutional amendment to make room in the Budget and pay the R$200 increase in Auxílio Brasil, Guedes defended the measure, which was seen as electoral. At the time, he understood that people were hungry.
“If there is hunger in Brazil, if people are cooking with wood, this program is not electoral. Or it is electoral and there was no one going hungry”, he said, at the time.
According to Guedes, with reforms, regulatory frameworks and a reindustrialization plan, Brazil has “contracted growth” for the next few years.
Guedes also returned to criticize projections that he considers bad about Brazil’s growth for the coming years, as he had already done this week, in an interview with Guaíba radio.
More than once, he said that these predictions are “political militancy” and that they bet on “rolling doom”. According to the minister, part of the errors is due to what he called the old economic model, when growth depended on public investments.
“The axis of the economy has changed and is now geared towards private investment,” he said. “Although public investment has collapsed to almost zero, private investment is reaching almost 19% of GDP. This guarantees a stronger growth rate. This is structural, organic, contracted growth.”
According to Guedes, in 2022 Brazil is still growing less due to high interest rates, necessary to fight inflation. The Copom (Monetary Policy Committee) meets this Wednesday and the market’s expectation is that the tightening cycle will be interrupted and that the Selic (basic interest rate of the economy) will be maintained at the current 13.75% per year.
With the expectation of a fall in inflation from next year, Paulo Guedes said he expects interest rates to also begin to fall.
The Minister of Economy gave the closing speech of the opening ceremony of a congress of Fenabrave (National Federation of Automotive Vehicle Distribution), at SP Expo, in São Paulo.
As has happened in other agendas of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) and his ministers, Guedes included in his speech mentions of the former Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Freitas, who is a candidate for the government of São Paulo in this year’s elections.
“Even without talking about politics, you know that he may be going to do extraordinary new work there somewhere else,” he said. He was applauded afterwards.