Bolsonaro says government will work fuel prices

Fuels (Photo: Getty Images)

BRASILIA (Reuters) – President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday in a conversation with supporters that the government will “start working” on fuel prices, but he did not say what could be done besides charging, once again, for changes in the ICMS.

“So now Petrobras is reorganized, we are now starting to work on the issue of fuel prices,” said Bolsonaro. “But it’s no use dealing with the price if the ICMS has this variable value, which interests the governors.”

The president has been constantly charged for the high value of fuels and cooking gas, which have seen record increases since last year. In some places, a liter of gasoline already reaches 7 reais, while a canister of cooking gas is around 100 reais.

The increase in fuel prices led to the resignation of the then president of the company, Roberto Castello Branco, and his replacement by General Joaquim Silva e Luna, but still Bolsonaro was unable to contain prices.

Previous insinuations of some form of price control, however, have always led to adverse reactions from the financial market.

Bolsonaro sent Congress a bill that intends to transform the ICMS on fuels, charged by the States, into a fixed amount. Although the main reasons for the increase are the price of oil on the international market and the value of the dollar against the real, the president blames ICMS for the high cost.

On Tuesday, he said again that he intends to see the bill approved and said that governors increased the ICMS when the federal government zeroed the Cide, a federal tax, on diesel.

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