By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – In an effort to show that the government is conducting deep reforms in its ranks and trying to reduce spending, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff announced on Friday, October 2nd a set of measures which include a reduction of ministries and a pay reduction for cabinet members and herself and her vice-president. The President also replaced some of her closest cabinet members and reshuffled ministers.
“With these initiatives, we want to contribute so that Brazil may come out of this crisis sooner; growing, generating jobs and income,” said Rousseff on national TV before announcing the measures
In addition to doing away with eight ministries, and reducing by ten percent the salaries of cabinet members and presidency officials, the government will extinguish thirty national agencies within the ministries, terminate three thousand commissioned positions and create a limit value for expenditures with telephone, airfare and daily stipends for official visits. All lease contracts within the Executive office will also be reviewed.
The most important change made in Rousseff’s cabinet, say analysts, was the transfer of Aloisio Mercadante from the position of Chief of Staff back to Minister of Education, a position he held during the first Rousseff administration. In his place the President has placed governor of Bahia, Jacques Wagner.
Analysts say the substitution was a way to appease some of Mercadante’s most fierce critics from within the PT and allied parties, especially the PMDB. Rousseff also changed cabinet members in the ministries of Science and Technology, Communication, Health, Education, and Defense. In all eight ministries, such as the Fishing, Racial Equality or Women Ministries, were reduced to departments within other, larger ministries.
With these measures the government hopes to send a signal to investors and allies that it is not only increasing taxes, but also reducing expenditures in its own branch to help reduce the nation’s deficit.