The speech of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva relating the public investments to solve the economic crisis is in flagrant contradiction with the facts. Last year, the government has issued only 22.5% of the budgeted investments. At a total investment budget approved by Congress of BRL 47.6 billion (€ 15.5 billion), only BRL 10.7 billion (€ 3.5 billion) has actually been spent.
The investment budget includes all public works for infrastructure, housing and sanitation facilities for which the federal government is responsible, including the activities of the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC = Program for the Acceleration of Growth).
The low level of investment extends even to the social sector. According to the Ministry of Health, only 7% of the investments were implemented. Of a total of BRL 3.9 billion (€ 1.3 billion) in the budget only BRL 276 million (€ 90 million) is spent. The program for hospital and outpatient care of the SUS (National Health Service) for example, for which a financing of BRL 1.7 billion (€ 0.55 billion) was approved, got paid BRL 163 million (€ 53 million = 9.5%). And a credit-line of BRL 324 million (€ 105 million) as a federal share in the construction of sanitation facilities in rural areas, transferred only BRL 3.9 million (€ 1.27 million = 1.3%).
The Ministry of Education realised actually 27.5% of the planned investment. From a budget of BRL 3.7 billion (€ 1.2 billion) BRL 1.03 billion (€ 0.33 billion) was spent.
In important parts of the infrastructure sector, such as the Ministries of Transport, Public Works and Municipalities, which are responsible for roads, housing and sanitation in the country, the executed investments made up only 18.4% and 14.7% respectively.
The Ministry of Urban Development, which is responsible for social housing had a budget of BRL 442 million (€ 143 million) in 2008, only to spend BRL 50.9 million (€ 16.5 million = 11.5%).
The Ministry of Social Development had available for investments BRL 196.5 million (€ 64 million), but used only BRL 101.4 million (€ 33 million), representing 51.6%. This amount represents about 1% of the total expenditure in this sector, which covers also the Program for Family Support (Bolsa Família), which consumes more than BRL 10 billion (€ 3.25 billion) per year.
For investments in tourism, traditional for all countries worldwide an important source of new jobs, the Lula government spent only 3.5% of the 2008 budget. Of the BRL 2.5 billion (€ 0.81 billion) budgeted, BRL 87 million (€ 28 million) was effectively spent.
In contrast to this tendency (or shall we say: intention, which obviously prevails in government circles) not to invest, the Ministry of Defence used 80.5% of the investment budget. Of BRL 4.1 billion (€ 1.33 billion), BRL 3.3 billion (€ 1.07 billion) has been spent.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs even exceeded the original budget allocated for investment. Foreign Affairs actually invested BRL 40.4 million (€ 13.1 million), while the original budget allowed BRL 38.5 million (€ 12.5 million).
Result: The international financial crisis, the beautiful and sometimes lyrical words used by Lula in his speeches to obfuscate the economic crisis, coupled with the apparent intention of the federal government not to invest in this country, have led to a sharp decrease in the number of jobs in the last two months of last year, in the month of December alone, a loss of 600,000 jobs. This estimate comes from the Minister of Labour, Carlos Lupi, who does not exclude a further reduction of jobs in the first quarter of this year.
Figures are based on data of the Sistema Integrado Informações Financeiras (Siafi) - Integrated System of Financial Information.
cartoon: J. Bosco/O Liberal