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‘Lula only has a narrative of being the father of the poor’, says João Roma, Bolsonaro’s former minister


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Former Minister of Citizenship, Deputy João Roma (PL-BA), intones the speech of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to minimize the scenario of increased hunger in Brazil and accuses the PT of creating a narrative to try to wear down the current government .

“Hunger exists all over the world. Soon I will be hungry, you will be hungry. We are talking about people who are going to be hungry and there will be no way to kill that hunger,” said Roma, in an interview with Sheet.

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“What I’m saying is that the PT cannot accuse Bolsonaro of having increased hunger, because he simply tripled social resources. That was for a much larger number of people.”

According to a United Nations report, released in July, in Brazil, 61.3 million (about 3 in every 10 inhabitants) live with some type of food insecurity, of which 15.4 million in severe food insecurity, going hungry, in 2019 and 2021.

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Roma rejects criticism of Auxílio Brasil, says that the initiative works together with other public policies, and attributes to the program the improvement in the assessment of the Bolsonaro government in this final stretch. For him, Lula tries to propagate the thesis that he is the “father of the poor”, while the population would feel an improvement in their pocket with the current benefit.

“The longer it takes and the PT keeps hitting it there, the longer people will reflect on it and will see that today’s reality is different.”

The president managed to stop Lula’s expansion on him in the Northeast, according to the latest Datafolha poll. to which mr. assign it? Second round is a different election. It is an election that makes the national debates and the future of Brazil more clear to voters. But at the end, people are realizing that Bolsonaro is the one who actually managed to make great gains for this population. Auxílio Brasil grew too much, the price of gasoline managed to fall without breaking Petrobras, the record in the number of jobs.

I think that President Bolsonaro is taking a certain advantage over Lula, who merely has a narrative saying that he is the father of the poor and all, but people earned less than R$100 in Bolsa Família, a large portion here in the Northeast, and today they are receiving at least R$ 600. So this starts reaching people.

When the president says that there would be no hunger in Brazil, do you think this hinders the campaign, especially in the Northeast? Telling the truth never gets in the way. The PT once again seeks a narrative, to say that Brazil has returned to the hunger map, which is not true. Last week there was a meeting of the FAO, which is precisely the organization that deals with this, and it is not in the report that Brazil returned the hunger map.

If the investment in social programs increased, why did we see scenes like people eating bone?We have made much greater progress in food security policy, because nothing can be more impactful in the fight against food insecurity than a social program that today guarantees more than 20 million Brazilians a minimum of R$600.

In the FAO report, there is a detail, he talks about the reason for the increase in food insecurity: a consequence of the pandemic and the war [da Ucrânia]. It is not saying that it was the absence of public policy. So it’s important to put this clearly so it’s not just a narrative war.

But, minister, from there to say that there is no hunger in Brazil. Do you think there is no hunger in the country? Hunger exists all over the world. Soon I’ll be hungry, you’ll be hungry. We are talking about people who will be hungry and will not be able to satisfy that hunger. What I am saying is that the PT cannot accuse Bolsonaro of having increased hunger, because he has simply tripled social resources. This was for a much larger amount of people.

When we managed to implement emergency aid, the invisibles came to the state’s radar, who were not embraced at the time of the PT government. And the PT tries to sell that in Lula’s time people were fine and now they are not.

People begin to see that this does not add up, because the benefit is now much greater. The longer it takes and the PT keeps hitting on it, the longer people will reflect on it and will see that reality is different today. So, hunger will exist in Brazil, it will exist in the United States, it will exist in rich countries, but today you have a government that has even managed, notably, to create a very effective program, which, yes, supports at least three times broader than at the time of the PT government.

And in a much more dignified way for the citizen, because in the past he got a job with a formal contract and lost the benefit. Today, on the contrary, he has an incentive to improve his life.

One of the criticisms that the PT makes of Auxilio Brasil is that a family with five children would earn the same as a family with one child. Is not true. Auxilio Brasil manages to link public policies that are very effective. To precisely consider the family composition in a much broader way than there was in Bolsa Família. Today you have early childhood help. The focus on early childhood guarantees even more support for each mother who has a child between 0 and 36 months, with all the complement issue, all follow-up.

In the budget forecast, there are no resources to pay the R$ 600. Where will this money come from? Just as it wasn’t last year, when we created Auxílio Brasil. The same criticism was suffered because, according to the PEC of December last year, it was said that the aid would only last until December. This was resolved with the approval of an interim measure. In the same PEC of December, it was established that the government’s social benefits are not covered by the Fiscal Responsibility Law. So based on that, we managed to make the minimum of R$ 400 permanent. After that, the new PEC came, creating even more R$ 200.

So it doesn’t have to be in the budget. Because the National Congress can approve it as a provisional measure, and Arthur himself [Lira] I already said I would go ahead with it.

The increase of another R$ 200 in aid took place during the campaign. Was the need to increase from R$400 to R$600 discovered during the campaign? No, this was not discovered in the campaign. Since last year, people have been advocating for a higher value, but this higher value was not available. So much so that reaching R$400 was a struggle.

You promised to give the 13th to female-headed families. Specialists say that this peak in income at the end of the year does not solve the problem of families, which would only be an electoral measure… This 13th, why didn’t he become permanent? Because while we were advancing on that, the pandemic came along. I wasn’t even in government yet. But in the last election, the president had already promised the 13th of Bolsa Família, it was executed once, but it was not executed a second time because otherwise it would become a permanent benefit.

João Roma (PL), 49

Born in Recife, he graduated in law and developed a political career in Bahia. He was chief of staff at the Salvador City Hall, which was occupied by ACM Neto (União Brasil-BA), a former ally, from 2013 to 2018. In 2018, he was elected to his first term as a federal deputy for Bahia. He resigned from the post in February 2021 to take over the Ministry of Citizenship. He resigned from the portfolio in April 2022, to run for governor of Bahia, for which he was defeated.

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