Coronavirus

Central Bank chairman: vaccination cheaper than emergency aid

emergency aid
Roberto Campos Neto (left) and Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Roberto Campos Neto, the chairman of the Brazilian Central Bank, said on Tuesday that widespread vaccination in Brazil would be more fiscally responsible than extending the government’s coronavirus emergency aid program.

Speaking during an event organized by consultancy group Eurasia, Mr. Campos Neto’s words come one day after a bill to extend the welfare policy for another three months was submitted to the Senate. Launched in March, the program helped drive poverty rates to their lowest level in 16 years. “Compared to other emerging economies, we spent more and saw an improvement in economic forecasts — from a drop of 10 percent to between 4 and 4.2 percent. When we look at the public debt and risk, we ask ourselves: is it worth it?”

Official data shows that 8.6 million people fell below the poverty line in October, after the monthly aid had been cut in half. Four million fell into extreme poverty. “The worst moment will be in January 2021, when the benefit ends,” said economist Daniel Duque, of think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas.

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