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In the Senate, Secretary of Finance spoke about the tax war conducted by the Estates and the legal uncertainty that brings risk to the governors and business

Text: Renata Veríssimo and Adriana Fernandes, from the Agency Estado


BRASILIA - The Executive Secretary of the Treasury, Nelson Barbosa said that Brazil has no fiscal abyss such as the United States, but has "a tributary precipice" to be solved in the next six months. He made the statement referring to the war conducted by the States and the legal uncertainty that brings a risk to the governors and businesses. The Federal Supreme Court (STF) has judged unconstitutional tax incentives granted without the approval of Confaz. The secretary attended the Senate hearing to present the proposed unification of interstate rate of GST.


"We have been discussing for two years, there are 27 pairs of hands working in the proposal. we have been improving the suggestions of the States," said Barbosa. He said that there is more consensus than disagreement. The secretary also said he does not intend to turn the debate into a tax war court. Barbosa said he understood the reasons that led states to adopt tax incentives, but he also said that this model is exhausted. "These incentives that have generated regional development are to be instincts and bring legal uncertainty," he said. "When you start having dysfunctional system, this requires action from all of us. Let’s discuss the future," he added.


The secretary also noted that there is an agreement to change the indexer debt of the states with the Union for the Selic rate, but he said the government sees no possibility of advancement in the short term, the proposed reduction in commitment revenue of States with debt payments. That's because the government does not want to change the Fiscal Responsibility Law. The secretary said he considers the hearing in the Senate today, as the closing of the works.


The Provisional Executive Act


He explained that he will take all suggestions to the finance minister, Guido Mantega, and the President Dilma Rousseff. If they agree, the government will send to the Congress, next week, a provisional executive act, changing the indexer debt and creating compensation funds and regional development.


Barbosa also said that the government does not agree with the proposal of the States of the North, Northeast and Midwest to maintain different rates for interstate ICMS. According to him, it is necessary that the unified tax rate is 4% because it improves the efficiency of the whole economy.


He, however, admitted the possibility of discussing a new period for which there would be a convergence rate. He said the Union will submit a proposal for the unification of the rate to the Congress, but the period may be longer than the eight years that has been discussed by the government. Barbosa said the government decided to include the change in the index of debt with the states in the same Provisional Executive Act (MP) that will create compensation funds and regional development as an incentive for the measure to be approved soon by Congress.


He stated that this change might already occur from January 2013 and reported that the Union preference is still for the Selic rate, but did not rule out the possibility that the correction might be done by IPCA as in some states. However, he affirmed IPCA plus 2% is not feasible because it is below the cost of borrowing from the Treasury. He said it will be Selic or IPCA plus 4%.


Barbosa denied he had promised to the states placing a lock to fix the debt as it had been said earlier by some secretaries. He said that by next week, the Provisional Executive Act should have come to the Congress and that must also be presented by the Union or by the Congress a resolution gradually reducing the rate of ICMS from January 2014.




Having been asked whether his proposal to the senators and the States to include the political agreement on the ICMS the voting on the new Provisional Executive Act of royalties could not derail the negotiations, Barbosa said that if the states want to include in the discussion of the Fund State Participation (FPE) and the renegotiation of debt, then it should also include the issue of royalties.


He remembered that President Rousseff vetoed part of the law passed by the Congress and sent a new MP altering the distribution of royalties for future contracts.


Version: Grazielle Segeti



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