Economy Minister Paulo Guedes stated that an important lesson of the pandemic was the increase in the income of families who started to receive emergency aid, which was configured in an action of “transfer of wealth” and not just income.
Guedes said that the government discovered families that received benefits of R$180 from Bolsa Família and that they saw their income jump to R$600 or even R$1,800 with emergency aid.
“You go from R$ 60 to R$ 600. A family goes from R$ 180 to R$ 1,800. This is no longer a transfer of income, this is a transfer of wealth,” he said during an event to set up the Parliamentary Front of the Entrepreneurship.
“The family felt rich. They bought construction material, expanded their house, some bought their own house, bought a refrigerator. They went to the supermarket and improved their food list. A spectacular result, it was very good to see it.”
The average Bolsa Família ticket was at the level of R$190 per family in the period prior to the pandemic. The program allows you to customize the value of the scholarship: there is a basic benefit, from R$89 per family, and other variables, from R$41 to R$48, aimed at children, teenagers, pregnant women and nursing mothers. If the family still does not exceed the poverty line, which is fixed at R$89, extra help is calculated, in the amount necessary for the per capita income to be higher than this amount.
On the other hand, emergency aid, aimed at the vulnerable population and informal workers during the pandemic, had different phases. In the first five months, the benefit was R$600, female heads of household could accumulate two benefits and there was no limitation on payment by families. For this reason, some families actually received R$1,800 in one month.
The second stage of the program reduced the amount of aid to R$300 and limited payment to one family member. In 2021, there was a new reduction, and the average benefit amount is R$ 250 – women heads of household receive R$ 375 and people living alone, R$ 175.
Guedes collects some unfortunate statements involving the theme of social policies. This year, he compared the size of a plate of food for a middle-class Brazilian to that of a European to illustrate the size of the problem of food waste in the country.
He suggested distributing clean food leftovers from restaurants to the poorest and most vulnerable.
The minister also criticized FIES, saying that the government distributed too many scholarships for higher education, and that the action enriched few businessmen, but benefited even those who were unable to attend college. At the time, he told an account that his doorman’s son received the scholarship even after finishing the entrance exam.
In 2020, before the pandemic, the minister also commented on the exchange rate increase, stating that the higher dollar was good for everyone and said that when the US currency was lower, “everyone” was going to Disney, in the States States, including “domestic maid”.