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Brazil gov't plans to
widen pension coverage
August 8, 2003
JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government plans to give
pension coverage to 40 million workers currently excluded from benefits,
Social Security Minister Ricardo Berzoni said on Friday.
"We want to present a bill
in the second half of 2003 to include domestic workers, the self employed
and others so that everyone can benefit," Berzoni said in an
interview on Globo television. No figures were given on the cost of the
Speaking after the government's
public pensions reform cleared its most critical hurdle in Congress
Thursday, Berzoni rejected claims that government concessions had weakened
efforts to make the system more fair and financially viable.
"We didn't back down ...
the reform is fundamentally unchanged," Berzoni said, adding that
civil servants will no longer receive what some view as absurdly high
Brazil's estimated 3 million
active and retired civil servants previously received a pension equivalent
to their last salary.
The reform, stuck in Brazil's
Congress since the early 1990s, caps pensions for future civil servants,
taxes pensions of retired public workers and cuts costs by an estimated 56
billion reais ($18.6 billion) over 20 years.
Last year, the government spent
5 percent of gross domestic product on public pensions, roughly equivalent
to the annual budget deficit.
Brazilian financial markets
Thursday welcomed the pension reform success, with the Brazilian real <BRBY>
firming 2.3 percent to 2.985 per dollar.
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