| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Brazil’s beefed up ‘Bolsa Familia’ welfare program to be less than 300 reais a month

According to people acquainted with the discussions, Brazil’s new “Bolsa Familia” welfare payments to the poor will average less than 300 reais ($59.50) per month, less than President Jair Bolsonaro had suggested last week.

The redesigned national program is slated to go into effect in December or early next year, with average monthly payments likely to rise from the current 190 reais.

The stipends are likely to be less than the 300 reais a month Bolsonaro mentioned recently, since the Economy Ministry is keen to maintain control of the public finances and ensure the expenditure cap rule is not broken.

On the condition of anonymity, one insider told Reuters, “The problem is to locate the resources without shattering the (spending) ceiling.” “Every real here and there adds up to a significant difference in the ultimate bill.”

Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak and who is running for re-election in October 2022, has stated that the program will be expanded. Stipends could be increased to 250 reais per month, according to officials from the Economy Ministry.

Payments might range between 250 and 284 reais per month, according to a second source, and the number of people eligible could rise to roughly 17 million from the current 14.6 million.

The Bolsa Familia, which has been toughened up, will take the place of the present emergency relief program, which was put in place to combat the consequences of the pandemic and is set to expire later this year.

The Ministry of the Economy declined to comment, while the Ministry of Citizenship indicated in a statement that the new data were still being debated.

According to economists at Barclays, current inflation of 8% allows the government to increase public spending next year without exceeding the spending cap, maybe by as much as 124 billion reais ($25 billion) extra.

  • Reuters