Bolsonaro promises decision on emergency aid this week

Bolsonaro emergency aid october
“God willing, we’ll get it done this week,” says Mr. Bolsonaro. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Under pressure from his political allies, President Jair Bolsonaro said this morning that he expects to have details on the government’s plan to extend welfare aid created to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic. “God willing, we’ll get it done this week,” he said, during an event in Minas Gerais.

The Bolsonaro administration planned to pay the last installment of the emergency aid program this month. Initially, the idea was to have already implemented a new program to replace and expand Bolsa Família — the globally renowned wealth-transfer program created in 2003 and heavily associated with the center-left Workers’ Party.

However, the government has been unable to approve proposals to free up budget space and fund the new social program — including bills to cap court-ordered payments scheduled for 2022 and an income tax reform.

In an interview on Sunday, Citizenship Minister João Roma said the new program — to be called Auxílio Brasil — should benefit around 17 million people and pay, on average, BRL 300 (USD 54) per month. Per Mr. Roma, Bolsa Família currently benefits 14.6 million families with an average monthly payment of BRL 190.