With less than 10 months to go before the 2022 elections, President Jair Bolsonaro promised that he will give a wage bump to “all” federal civil servants — “without exception” — if Congress passes a constitutional amendment bill allowing the government to cap court-ordered debt repayments — known as precatórios — scheduled for 2022.
“Inflation reached double digits. I spoke with [Economy Minister] Paulo Guedes, and in passing the proposal, there has to be a small space to give some raises. It’s not all [civil servants] deserve, but it is what we can give,” Mr. Bolsonaro stated during a business event in Bahrain on Monday.
The president did not say how much this increase would be but stated that its urgency is explained by the lack of salary increases for civil servants over the last two years, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on these professionals.
“Because of inflation, civil servants have been without raises for two years. With the issue of the pandemic, this [raise] is justified, because many people lost their jobs or even had their salary reduced,” he added.
The government’s 2022 budget proposal does not foresee pay increases for civil servants this year. Thus, the money for the promised salary rise would come straight out of the funds freed up by the precatórios bill, designed to make room for BRL 89 billion (USD 15.9 billion) in next year’s budget.
Despite the increase in salaries, Mr. Bolsonaro stated that he will continue to be restrictive regarding the opening of new public tenders for civil servants, which, according to him, would guarantee the government’s commitment to fiscal balance.
However, the statement given this Monday only increased fears of analysts and economists that the constitutional amendment bill will artificially expand the spending cap and end up creating instability, fueling inflation in the process.