The Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, said on Tuesday that the year 2024 may “positively surprise” in terms of economic growth, while also noting that the fiscal result of the country depends on the National Congress.
“The result does not come by magic. The primary result is different from the primary target, just as the inflation result is different from the inflation target. It depends on various factors, such as the approval of the measures that the government sends to Congress,” said Haddad at an event organized by BTG Pactual in São Paulo.
“The primary result depends on the National Congress,” he added.
The government’s goal is to eliminate the primary deficit of the country by the end of this year, and the minister sought once again to show commitment to this objective. Haddad said that the government does not even intend to use contingency measures or the margin provided in the fiscal framework to achieve the goal.
To do so, Haddad said that the economic team will continue working on measures aimed at “closing these gaps” that impact tax collection, citing the government’s attempts to reduce tax expenses.
“We want to achieve the necessary result to meet the target without contingencies,” he said. “These measures need the support of the National Congress and the society that reverberates in the National Congress.”
The minister predicted that, as happened in 2023, the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will exceed the estimates of the beginning of the year. He also expressed hope that the fourth quarter GDP of last year will surpass expectations.
“I don’t see a reason for us to grow less than 2%… There are already market experts talking about more. Serious people, talking about 2.5%, talking about 2.6%. People who know how to count,” he said.
“I would venture to say that the fourth quarter of last year will come out better than expected. A little better.”
Haddad also revealed that the government’s revenue data for January of this year, which will be officially announced after Carnival, was “very good” and “very surprising.”
He pointed out investment — which he said was the “Achilles’ heel” of the country in 2023 — as one of the factors that will positively surprise in terms of economic growth not only this year but also until the end of Lula’s term in 2026. The disbursements, hinted the minister, are expected to occur especially in the infrastructure sector.
“What fell short (in 2023) was investment. I believe that this will be the great surprise by the end of President Lula’s term,” he said.
“The set of bids planned in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, in the Ministry of Transportation, is colossal, and will be much higher than the sum of the last governments, much higher. What is planned is very robust, very well-designed modeling,” he assured.
The minister also affirmed that politics needs to help the economy and that the government is making efforts for the Three Powers to be able to reach an agreement.
“Every effort we are making is for the Three Powers to understand each other. If this continues to happen, I am very optimistic about the Brazilian economy. But politics needs to help, politics needs to remain open,” he urged.
“People need to have a little public and selfless spirit, they need to lower their guard a bit and be generous with the country, the country is not fixed yet.”
Haddad’s statement comes in the context of resistance from lawmakers to some government proposals aimed at increasing revenue, such as the gradual reoneration of payroll.
During Tuesday’s event, Haddad denied that the issuance of the MP (provisional measure) for the reoneration of payroll for 17 sectors of the economy prepared by the government was a disregard for the Congress — which had overturned the government’s veto of the extension of the benefit. On the contrary, said the minister, it complies with the determination of the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) and the Fiscal Responsibility Law, which requires seeking compensation when there are factors that deviate the fiscal result from the established target.
On Monday, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), said that the exemption from payroll taxes and other “achievements” of the National Congress cannot be changed or undone without extensive prior discussion with the Legislative Houses.