By William Jones, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff has declared that there will be changes to the ‘Bolsa Familia’ program which will include higher payments, tax breaks for the worse off and an increase in the national minimum wage to match inflation.

The beneficial tweaks to existing initiatives offer a massive blow to Dilma’s electoral opposition photo by Roberto Stuckert/Flickr Creative Commons License
President Dilma Rousseff has declared that there will be changes to the ‘Bolsa Familia’ program, photo by Roberto Stuckert/ABr.

The promises of amendments to the social welfare initiative, Bolsa Familia, will affect around 36 million families and have been made ahead of this October’s presidential election.

Rousseff has experienced a drop in popularity in recent week due to spiraling inflation and recent allegations regarding corruption within the state owned oil company Petrobras.

The Brazilian president pledged that there will be a ten percent increase in social welfare payments in order to continue the ‘Brazil Without Poverty’ policy.” She wanted to ensure that the public “remained above the extreme poverty line as set by the UN.”

Furthermore Rousseff, who is seeking re-election, shifted the income tax threshold up by 4.5 percent for workers. She said the measure “will cause a significant indirect wage gain and more money in the pocket of the worker.”

The president also said that the countries minimum wage would be lifted in order to relieve the squeeze on living caused by inflation. “The value of the minimum wage has been an effective tool for the reduction of inequality and to the rescue of great social debt that we still have with our poorest workers,” she said.

Within her Labor Day speech President Rousseff announced that the government remains committed to “the incessant and relentless fight against corruption,” while also springing to the defense of Petrobras. “[Petrobras] is a symbol of struggle and affirmation of our country . It is one of the most important assets of our people.” Adding: “Petrobras will never be confused with acts of corruption or wrongdoing of any person.”

Dilma Rousseff remains as the favorite to win the upcoming election but an opinion poll in April showed that support for the Brazil president has dipped from 44 percent to 37 percent.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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