Project that extends Pronampe is approved in the House

Project that extends Pronampe is approved in the House

The Chamber of Deputies approved this Tuesday (12) the project that extends until the end of 2024 the use of emergency resources to leverage loans from Pronampe, a program that seeks to facilitate credit to micro and small companies.

The measure was being stitched together with the Ministry of Economy and is part of the menu of initiatives that, according to Minister Paulo Guedes, could irrigate companies with R$ 100 billion in credit. The proposal was approved by 447 votes to 9, with support from allied and opposition parties.

Pronampe was created in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, to help small entrepreneurs who had a sudden drop in revenues and, at the same time, were without access to cheap credit due to the crisis.

To enable lower interest rates at a time of heightened uncertainty, the federal government invested billions in funds in the FGO (Fund Guarantee of Operations), which would be responsible for honoring payments in the event of default.

The guarantee funds help to cover possible losses of financial institutions. This mainly helps companies that do not have such solid guarantees and, therefore, are left without access to low-cost credit.

The design of the program was considered extremely successful by the government, businessmen and parliamentarians, who tried to pass a law in 2021 making Pronampe an official and permanent credit policy.

The new contracting of operations, however, had to respect the deadline of December 31 of last year.

In an election year, the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government was already being pressured by the business sectors to unlock credit programs aimed at micro and small companies.

The proposal being voted on this Tuesday in the Chamber extends that date until December 31, 2024.

As a result, the resources provided by the government through extraordinary credit — outside the scope of the spending ceiling fiscal rule — would only be returned from 2025 to the National Treasury coffers. The money will have to be used to reduce public debt.

The bill still needs to go through a new vote in the Senate, where it was originally proposed, due to the changes made by the deputies.

Since 2021, all credit operations contracted by Pronampe have interest rates of up to 6% plus Selic, currently at 11.75% per year. The rate is still considered advantageous by the economic team, as it is below that charged on other lines offered by banks.

The rapporteur in the Chamber, deputy Marco Bertaiolli (PSD-SP), also incorporated in his opinion an authorization for the government to contribute resources from the Budget to the FGO, to prevent the fund from running out of resources in the future to continue operations.

For this, however, the government will depend on availability in the Budget and on the spending ceiling, a rule that limits the advance of expenses to inflation.

“I am allowing the contribution of ordinary resources, but this depends on a budget reserve. We are creating a permanent program,” he said.

Bertaiolli also included a wide waiver of debt clearance certificates for contracting new operations or renegotiations, with the exception of eventual social security debts. This will allow companies with labor disputes to have access to credit, for example.

The rapporteur also foresees in his text the resumption of the PEC (Credit Stimulus Program), a program that encourages the granting of credit to micro and small and medium-sized companies.

The PEC allows financial institutions to convert any temporary losses with these operations into tax credits to pay less tax. The measure frees up the capital of banks that would otherwise be committed to these transactions, which helps to leverage a greater volume of credit.

The program had ended at the end of 2021, but the text extends its term until December 31, 2022.

In its first version, the PEC could be used by financial institutions in loans granted to MEIs (individual microentrepreneurs) or companies with annual revenues of up to R$ 4.8 million.

Now, the text also includes the segment of medium-sized companies, with annual gross revenue of up to R$ 300 million. This expansion of the PEC was criticized by parties opposing the government, for granting a tax benefit to companies with greater volume of revenue. Even so, the allied base ensured the permanence of the measure.

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