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Financial News: BRAZIL: Pension Reform Voting Timeframe Is Challeging, Say

BRAZIL: Pension Reform Voting Timeframe Is Challeging, Say Key Lawmakers

11/25/2017 - 09:08:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Brazilian House of Representatives speaker Rodrigo Maia and the lawmaker in charge of presenting the pension reform bill to the House floor, Arthur Maia, believe that there is a slim chance of passing that legislation in Congress before the next year's presidential election.

Arthur Maia - who has also presented a smaller, watered-down version of the pension reform - said that if the House floor is unable to vote on the bill by mid-December, then the reform will not happen under Michel Temer's administration.

"We have to work hard to build this majority of 308 votes. Not easy!" said the congressman after dining with Temer.

Rodrigo Maia warned that the timeframe to vote the pension reform is "short." He added that no vote on that topic would leave Brazil in a fiscal crisis that could erase the positive developments of the last 12 months.

Lawmakers were wary of supporting the original version of the pension reform because it envisions a variety of unpopular measures.

The new proposal increases the minimum retirement age to 65 years for men and 62 years for women and obliges public sector workers to pay to the government's social security fund for at least 25 years before being eligible for retirement payments. Private sector workers, however, would have to contribute for at least 15 years.

The watered-down version of the pension reform also eliminates obstacles established in the original proposal to the release of payments to rural workers and disabled people.

The revised version of the pension reform bill should save around R$ 480 billion in public expenditures in the next decade - or around 60% of the R$ 800 billion cut expected in the original version of the legislation - according to Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles.

According to Arthur Maia, "nothing guarantees that this will be the approved bill. The House's floor may require a higher age, a lower age or even reject [the bill]," he said.

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