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BNDES board confirms Mercadante as president


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The Board of Directors of BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development) approved in a meeting this Wednesday (25), the nomination of former minister Aloizio Mercadante for the presidency of the bank.

The names of three other directors were also approved: Tereza Campello, Natalia Dias and Helena Tenorio. Those approved join the already appointed directors Alexandre Corrêa Abreu, José Luis Gordon, Nelson Barbosa and Luiz Navarro.

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Minister of Education, Science and Technology of the Civil House during the Dilma Rousseff government, Mercadante had his appointment to the BNDES questioned for having coordinated the transition team of the third government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

His nomination, however, was endorsed by the TCU (Tribunal de Contas da União), which understood that there was no conflict in his participation in the transition and restrictions imposed by the State-Owned Companies Law on people who coordinated political campaigns.

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The bank’s new president was unanimously approved by the board, according to a note released by the BNDES. The collegiate already has a majority aligned with the new government, after the resignations of members appointed during the Jair Bolsonaro administration.

With the approval of the names this Thursday, the BNDES concludes the renewal of its board with nominations made by the Lula government.

The new management takes over with the mission of changing the profile of the bank under Bolsonaro, which was more focused on supporting concessions and privatizations and financing small businesses.

In signals already made by the top government, some of the focuses should be support for industry and exports of Brazilian products, as anticipated by vice president Geraldo Alckmin to businessmen at Fiesp (Federation of Industries of São Paulo).

At the end of 2021, Mercadante stated that he does not want a return to the past, “but rather build the BNDES of the future”. The priorities, he said, are small companies, the green economy and the “reindustrialization of Brazil”.

“Industry accounted for 43% of the BNDES’ portfolio, and today it accounts for only 16%. Without industry, there is no innovation, nor generation of quality jobs,” he said at the time.

This week, on a visit to Argentina, President Lula also spoke of resuming financing for works abroad, a policy questioned by the TCU (Union Court of Auditors) and widely used by Bolsonarism to attack PT administrations.

Until September, according to the latest data available, Venezuela, Cuba and Mozambique totaled US$ 1.03 billion in arrears on loans taken out to finance works carried out by Brazilian companies.

Launched in 1998, the export financing program for engineering goods and services has paralyzed disbursements in recent years amid the discovery of cases of corruption with contractors.

In a note released after Lula’s statement, the BNDES said that any change in this policy would “necessarily” go through an understanding with the TCU and added that the president of the court, Bruno Dantas, “has reinforced the role of collaborative monitoring of public policies” .

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