Bol­sonaro to Tackle Pen­sion Over­haul Piece­meal

Iran News - - INTERNATIONAL -

BRASILIA (Reuters) Right-wing Pres­i­dent-elect Jair Bol­sonaro said on Tues­day he plans to tackle the over­haul of Brazil’s fis­cally bur­den­some pen­sion sys­tem with piece­meal re­forms that can pass Congress, start­ing with an in­crease in the min­i­mum age of re­tire­ment.

He said re­forms should start with the pub­lic so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem and ad­vance grad­u­ally to make sure they pass Congress.

“The idea is to start with the (min­i­mum) age, at­tack the priv­i­leges and take it for­ward,” Bol­sonaro said at a news con­fer­ence, warn­ing that the prob­lem with the cost of the pen­sion sys­tem was grow­ing ev­ery year.

“We can­not al­low Brazil to reach the sit­u­a­tion that Greece reached to do some­thing about it,” he said.

Brazil’s next pres­i­dent said he planned to start by rais­ing the min­i­mum age of re­tire­ment for every­one by two years, but keep­ing the gen­der age gap, build­ing on a pro­posal made by in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer. He gave few de­tails. Cur­rently, Brazil­ian men can re­tire after 35 years of con­tri­bu­tions and women after 30 years. Men can also re­tire by age 65 and women at 60 as long as they have con­trib­uted for at least 15 years.

Gen­er­ous pen­sions are a ma­jor cause of Brazil’s gap­ing bud­get deficit and grow­ing pub­lic debt, an un­sus­tain­able sit­u­a­tion that is be­com­ing more acute as the pop­u­la­tion ages and more peo­ple re­tire.

In­vestors and credit rat­ing agen­cies are watch­ing Bol­sonaro’s com­mit­ment to pen­sion re­form closely as it is key to re­duc­ing the deficit and restor­ing con­fi­dence in Latin Amer­ica’s largest econ­omy as it re­cov­ers slowly from a two-year re­ces­sion. The pen­sion re­form pro­posal by Te­mer’s out­go­ing gov­ern­ment never gained enough trac­tion in Congress.

Bol­sonaro, who takes of­fice on Jan. 1, be­gan meet­ings with po­lit­i­cal par­ties on Tues­day to see how he can build sup­port for his agenda that in­cludes tax re­form and the eas­ing of gun laws.

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