Brazilian lawmakers negotiate pension bill details ahead of vote

April 23, 2019

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s Labor and Pensions Secretary Rogerio Marinho said on Tuesday negotiations over the government’s key pension reform bill were continuing in the hope that a congressional committee would still be able to vote on the legislation this afternoon.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s government made several minor concessions to the bill on Monday night, local newspapers reported, to ensure that the vote goes forward.

Marinho said the negotiations were going well so far.

Economists, investors and others consider pension reform essential to getting control of Brazil’s ever-growing fiscal deficit and balancing the budget. The measure was a key proposal of Bolsonaro’s election campaign.

The government says the pension changes would save roughly 1 trillion reais ($253.38 billion) in the decade after approval. The modifications agreed to on Monday should not affect the amount of money saved, O Globo newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The government, however, has lost momentum on the pension legislation in recent days, even as key economic indicators have worsened. Brazil’s real currency fell some 0.3 percent on Monday, as its Bovespa stock index rose almost 1.4 percent.

The Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of Congress’ lower house is set to meet at 2:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT).

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Paul Simao)

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