Fuel importers fear shortages amid civil servant rebellion

fuel shortages brazil
Tank truck in São Paulo. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Federal civil servants are protesting for higher wages, with employees at the Federal Revenue Service engaging in a go-slow strike since Christmas week to put pressure on the government. The move has slowed down customs clearances and importers have told the government that it could create fuel shortages in Brazil.

Shortages could put further pressure on fuel prices, after gasoline and diesel at the pump got 45 percent more expensive over 2021. Fuel inflation is particularly harmful to the purchasing power of low-income families, but also has ripple effects across the entire economy — as over 60 percent of all cargo in Brazil is transported by trucks.

Unions representing government workers plan a walkout on January 18 — a protest which could morph into a general strike, which could in turn lead to a government shutdown.