By Lucy Jordan, Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government announced Wednesday a stimulus package of R$8.4 billion of public-sector purchases to combat slow economic growth. Finance Minister Guido Mantega and President Dilma Rousseff announced the raft of government acquisitions, which are part of the PAC growth acceleration program (Growth Acceleration Plan), saying that they were a response to ongoing economic woes in Europe.

President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil News
President Dilma Rousseff was nicknamed ' The mother of PAC' by her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, photo by Blog do Planalto/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

“The European crisis continues to worsen and is depressing the growth of the worldwide economy,” said Mantega, in a ceremony at the Palácio do Planalto.

“Given this scenario, the Brazilian government is taking measures to stimulate the economy in order to increase investment, to stimulate demand, to increase confidence and accelerate our growth.”

Brazil’s economy grew 2.7 percent in 2011, the lowest of the BRICS nations, and recorded just 0.2 percent of growth in the first quarter of 2012.

The government will invest in products including armored vehicles, ambulances, trucks and buses, with preference going to Brazilian companies. The government will also spend money on the construction of school sports facilities.

In addition to its spending spree, the government will make available a line of credit through the Brazilian Development Bank to municipalities and states to buy health equipment.

Of the R$8.4 billion announced in the package, R$1.8 billion is already accounted for in this year’s budget, Globo reported.

In a post on the Palácio do Planalto blog President Dilma Rousseff said that Brazil was concerned about the European crisis, but not frightened. “We can not pretend nothing is happening,” she said.

President Rousseff said the PAC purchases were part of the government’s effort to protect Brazilian jobs and production. She insisted that despite a slowdown in international trade, Brazil’s position remains secure.

“I consider that this policy of government purchases is, at this moment, an affirmation that we have the mechanisms to confront the crisis,” she said. “We will use them without restriction.”

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