BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Tuesday the government’s efficiency gains will allow for higher salaries after years of not raising the minimum wage and freezing public servants’ salaries.
Speaking roughly at an event hosted by the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Abras), Guedes highlighted efficiency gains with the digitization of public services, and noted that the current administration has not replaced many retired public servants.
“We will be able to give moderate increases in salaries and based on possible inflation from now on. From now on, we will maintain purchasing power or even increase the purchasing power of salaries,” he said.
The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is seeking re-election in October but trails former leftist President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls, has set aside 14.2 billion reais ($2.76 billion) to fund higher wages for public servants in the 2023 budget bill sent to Congress. .
The proposal did not specify the percentage of the amendment or the public employees and professions whose wage increases were considered. The government has come under intense pressure from public servants to increase wages as inflation has eroded their purchasing power in Latin America’s largest economy.
The budget bill did not foresee any minimum wage gains other than inflation.
During the event, Guedes also said that this year Bolsonaro’s government intends to privatize the port of Santos – the largest in Latin America – after setting a minimum price of 3.015 billion reais ($586.32 million) for Tuesday’s privatization auction.
(1 dollar = 5.1425 riyals)