Last Wednesday, I started my first international activity in 2018. I took part in the World Economic Forum in Davos, where I had the chance to address important world figures, political leaders and business people, which greatly influence the creation of public opinion. Once again, I was given the opportunity to talk about the reform programme for Brazilian general transition.
We left the economic crisis behind, because we manage to say no to populism and take on the responsibility. Encouraged by a long-term vision, our government, sets the foundations of more efficient state through continuous dialogue with the National Congress and citizens, which would provide citizens with quality services through a balanced budget. These are the foundations of sustainable growth, which is necessary for the country to evolve further and make millions of Brazilians to evade poverty.
In a little more than a year and a half of the country’s governance, we have confirmed in practice our responsibility toward the fiscal balance. The results are here. Inflation has dropped and is under control again. The national currency exchange rate, the real, is stabilized. Interest rates fell to the historically lowest values. By strong action, and not just by good will, we have once again restored trust in the Brazilian economy – a trust which already has influenced the rise in industrial production, the vitality of foreign trade, and creating new jobs.
An investor observing Brazil today sees a government that accurately diagnoses problems and delivers functional solutions. One sees an administration committed to improving the business environment. We have eliminated many bureaucratic obstacles that got in the way of entrepreneurs – it became easier to start a company, import and export. The modernization of the labour market, which has already came into force, is a very important feature of our efforts to tune Brazil to the reality of the modern economy, so that does not jeopardize the rights of workers. We still have the tax policy simplification ahead, in order to make the tax collection swift and rational. Bearing all this in mind, Brazil is building a market where there is more economic freedom each day.
Organization of public finances and a competitive private sector are of the essence for sustainable development, just like a quality infrastructure that will match the huge potential of our country. That is why I have presented in Davos numerous possibilities of the “Time to Move Forward” programme, which relates to granting concessions and privatisation of the property of the federal government. The model we institutionalized offers very clearly defined and stable rules and strengthens legal certainty. It’s no coincidence that the programme attracted the attention of investors worldwide. So far, we have completed over 70 projects including roads, ports, airports, power transmission lines, oil and gas facilities. The estimate is that a total of $ 45 billion has been invested. In 2018, investors will be offered 75 novel projects, including those in the rail-transport, which should bring us over $ 40 billion.
These reforms will strengthen economic credibility and bring our economy into more sustainable growth paths.
The changes that Brazil is going through, which are preparing it to better face the challenges of the 21st century, are not limited to the domestic level. On the foreign relations plane, we also engage with an open mind, because the claim that it is possible to advance in a closed economy setting in the contemporary world would be a lie. Our efforts toward bigger and better integration begin in the region, in Mercosur (South American trade bloc): together with other partners, Brazil has started implementing an agenda to promote the free market and erect its major pillars. In addition to erasing trade barriers within the block, we are also encouraging the rapprochement with the countries of the Pacific Alliance. For the first time in the last twenty years, we have a realistic perspective to sign an agreement between Mercosur and the European Union – an agreement that we intend to be comprehensive and balanced, as well as to suit the needs of the Brazilian society. I also emphasize that we have started new negotiations with partners from around the globe.
It is an indisputable fact, for anyone objective, that Brazil has gone with this administration a long road, on the quick-foot. We have achieved a lot, always dialogue based, which is the foundation of democracy; we are ready to reconcile different positions and formulate effective responses to the all of our country needs.
Now we are faced with a challenge whose overcoming we are wholly dedicated. It is a reform of social and pension insurance. In Davos, I once again highlighted my duty to provide a just and sustainable insurance system that would suit to the demographic evolution of our country. It is an obligation that I embrace from all the Brazilians, and above all those most fragile – after all, the system of contributions, as it is, is most burdensome for those who have the least, and privileges those who have the most. The reform will remove privileges and guarantee the payment of pensions equally today and in the future. It will further strengthen the credibility of the Brazilian economy and will lead it to a more sustainable growth path.
We are confronted, with much more courage and enthusiasm, with the challenges that this historic moment puts before our entire country. I have no doubt that we will once again overcome them, to the common good.
Brazil is a great country that possesses multifarious industry perks. It is a market with over 200 million consumers, with abundant natural resources. Our people are hardworking and creative. We have a diversified industry and highly productive agriculture. Our energy development is among the greenest in the world. We are a continental country, far from all geopolitical crises zones. These are the reasons that have always succeeded in making Brazil an attractive destination for investors. Lately, however, the problem was that Brazil lost its direction.
But our government has regained its course. From the very beginning, it was clear to us which path we should trace: the path of responsibility, openness, and freedoms. From this we do not, nor we do intend to go astray.
Original article was published in Brazilian magazine “Valor Econômico“ .