Bolsonaro: emergency salary to return in March

Bolsonaro: emergency salary to return in March
Bolsonaro talks to reporters: emergency salary with fiscal responsibility. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters on Thursday that the government’s coronavirus emergency salary program will make a return next month — but failed to inform how much beneficiaries can expect to receive. “It’s almost done, we still don’t know the value,” he said. “[It will last for] three to four months, because we’ve got to be fiscally responsible.”

Created in March 2020, the program gave monthly payments of BRL 600 (USD 111) to vulnerable populations. In September, the program was halved — and expired after December.

While the emergency salary was being paid, the number of severely impoverished people in the country fell to its lowest level in at least 16 years. Since the program expired, over 2 million Brazilians have fallen below the poverty line, leaving 13 percent of the Brazilian population with an income of no more than BRL 250 per month.

Economy Ministry officials are angling for the new benefit to be lowered to BRL 200 — and want to condition payments to participation in a government-backed initiative to reduce labor rights as a way to foster job creation.

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