Revenue moved quickly and spending review “didn’t work” in 2023, says Tebet

Revenue moved quickly and spending review “didn’t work” in 2023, says Tebet


Minister Simone Tebet, of Planning, acknowledged that the review of public spending in 2023 progressed at a slower pace, while revenue was the main driver for the country’s public accounts – which generated criticism at the time due to the successive projects sent by the government to Congress to increase taxation and achieve the expected goals without cutting back on meat.

Tebet highlighted that, although the government has adopted measures to combat fraud and inefficiencies, it has not yet made progress in evaluating public policies in relation to costs.

“That treadmill didn’t work last year. We didn’t put it to work quickly. The recipe conveyor worked faster. It ran at 110 km/h, sometimes 120 km/h, and the spending review treadmill ran at 40 km/h, 30 km/h”, said the minister in an interview with CNN Brazil last weekend.

Simone Tebet said that the year 2023 was for “recovering public policies” and that, therefore, “the spending review went a little slowly”. For 2024, the goal of eliminating the deficit in public accounts, “investing in what is urgent” and investigating “fraud and errors” remains maintained.

This investigation includes a fine-tooth comb in the single register of Bolsa Família beneficiaries and the mapping of inefficiencies and fraud in Social Security payments, already underway according to her.

A next step, says the minister, will be the review of Proagro, an insurance paid to rural producers who have crop losses. Spending on the program jumped from a figure of less than R$2 billion per year to R$9 billion. “Something is wrong,” says Tebet.

Regarding tax expenditures, which are tax waivers under conditions for companies to meet certain objectives directed by the government, she states that it is necessary to open the data to check if they are working.

“See which of these expenses can be canceled, because they don’t reach the end, they are not efficient. We are giving up revenue without delivering it in the form of jobs and income, but also to open up the numbers. Open each program, as happened with Bolsa Família, and say ‘wait a minute, there are almost 2 million people who can’t be here’”, he stated.

The minister also acknowledged that there is a certain skepticism regarding the government’s ability to review its own expenses, especially considering the influence of interest groups in Congress. However, she expressed confidence that technology and innovation can assist in this process.

“The truth is that everyone talks about spending reviews and that never happens. What’s the difference today? We have a tool that we didn’t have in the past, which is technology and innovation. You put a system there and it filters, it blocks fraud, it blocks errors, it points out mistakes”, he added.

Asked about the Central Bank’s proposal for financial autonomy being processed in the Senate, Tebet took a stand against the current proposal and stated that the idea “does not have the approval of the government’s economic team”. However, she highlighted the possibility of discussing financial autonomy controlled by the National Monetary Council.

Despite criticism of the proposal, Tebet highlighted that the debate on financial autonomy is not prohibited and highlighted the importance of having control of the economic team in this process.


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