By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff has approved a controversial new bill that sets out the redistribution of oil royalties to non-producing states nationwide, Chief of Staff Gleisi Hoffmann has announced. However, much to the relief of oil-producing states such as Rio, the president included a number of vetoes.

Brazil Oil Royalties Bill is announced, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Brazil Oil Royalties Bill is announced by Chief of Staff, Gleisi Hoffmann (center), with the Minister of Education, Aloizio Mercadante (right), photo by José Cruz/ABr.

The most significant veto was of “Article 3” in its entirety, meaning previously-signed contracts that might have been renegotiated, with states losing out on billions of reais, are now safe.

With the president’s partial veto, the new rules for redistribution now only apply to future contracts.

The end of long worry and speculation over the bill also means the bidding process for pre-salt oil exploration can continue, Ms. Hoffmann said, announcing that all of the royalties earned from future concession schemes contracts would be injected into education.

Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante said the president’s decision was of “historic significance” and that education was the path to sustainable development in the future.

Critics of Brazil’s education system say it sorely needs extra funds, particularly after coming second-to-last in a study of forty countries’ schooling systems, which saw Finland and South Korea take first and second places.

Officials in Rio had argued the bill would “illegally” previously signed contracts and some 200,000 people took to the streets earlier this week to protest the move and demand President Rousseff veto the bill.

According to official estimates, as the contracts stand, Rio state should receive around R$2.5 billion in 2013.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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


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