Brazil’s New Finance Minister to Reform Pension System

Henrique Meirelles, Brazil’s new finance minister, explained his intention to overhaul the country’s pension system in order to combat the national deficit. Meirelles stepped into his office after the suspension and possible impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

Nasdaq has more on the topic:

Brazil’s new finance minister, Henrique Meirelles, said Friday the government needs to reduce spending and overhaul the country’s pension system and labor laws.

Mr. Meirelles said during a news conference that he will name his economic team and the heads of the central bank and state-controlled banks on Monday, and will reveal economic measures as they are ready. He added that the heads of the state banks won’t be chosen based on their political affiliation.

“We need to have concrete measures to turn things around,” he said. “Even if those measures won’t have immediate effects, they will have an effect in the future.”

Mr. Meirelles was appointed finance minister on Thursday by acting President Michel Temer, who is sitting in for President Dilma Rousseff.

Ms. Rousseff was temporarily suspended on Thursday to face an impeachment trial in the Senate. She accused Mr. Temer of plotting her dismissal.

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The minister will also be charged with fixing the country’s broke public pension system. For decades Brazilians have been able to retire after up to 35 years of work, resulting in a relatively low retirement age, now averaging 54 years.

Mr. Meirelles said Brazil should move toward a minimum retirement age, without giving specifics. Pension payments amount to almost half of the national budget and fixing the system is key to restoring confidence in Brazil’s future, he said.

If Rousseff is impeached, Brazil’s voters are expected to allow Meirelles to enact the reforms he proposes with little resistance.

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