By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used her speech on the eve of Brazil’s Independence Day public holiday, September 7th, to deliver the much-anticipated news that energy bills would be slashed both for industry and the public, and to introduce Brazilians to her vision of a “competitive” Brazil.

Rousseff Independence Day, September 7th, National Address 2012, image recreation.
President Rousseff used her Independence Day national address to announce big reductions in energy bills and tell Brazilians that the country must become more competitive, image recreation.

The new rates will come into effect from the start of 2013 and will see energy bills reduced by an average of 28 percent for industries, and 16.2 percent for households.

The move is in a bid to bring greater competitiveness to the Brazilian market both domestically and internationally, help those sectors in desperate need of a boost, and avert future job losses.

Both reductions were bigger than had been expected and are part of a wider attempt to kickstart the economy through a number of stimulus packages – including the concession of public infrastructure projects and historic interest rate cuts.

She also hit out at the banks during the eleven-minute address, which is traditionally made by the president on Independence Day.

However, São Paulo Prefeito (mayor) candidate José Serra, who left the position in 2010 in order to run against Rousseff in the presidential elections that year, said the president overstepped the mark and turned the September 7th national address into election politics:

“For her to undertake election campaigning is normal, it’s part of the game. Now, using the national address for election politics is utterly wrong,” Serra announced on Friday.

Municipal elections are being held in Brazil in October to vote for mayors and city councilors across Brazil.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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