BRAZIL - Brazil's lower house of parliament has approved a 7.7% increase in pension payments for some of the country's pensioners but serious obstacles remain before it can go into effect, including a possible veto from president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
This decision - if approved by the Senate - will apply to retired people whose pension is above the minimum salary of BRL510 (US$282.7). Right now, Brazilian men can retire after 35 years of contributions, while women need 30.
The adjustment would be retroactive to January this year. The leader of the government ruling coalition Candido Vaccarezza said that if this increase were to be backed by the Senate, then Lula would likely veto the proposed increase. But he did not provide an explanation on why the president would do so.
Vaccarezza added party leaders who agreed to back the 7.7% increase, initially supported the application of a lower index.
He also said that if Lula vetoed the whole proposal, pensions will be adjusted to the inflation rate, which stands at 3.5%.
According to a statement by the lower house, the initial proposal by the government coalition adjusted pensions by 6.14%. Following negotiations, Vacarezza accepted to increase the index to the current level approved by the lower house. But, the statement added, he never got full support by the members of the government coalition.
In addition, Bloomberg reported planning minister Paulo Bernardo said he would recommend Lula veto the 7.7% increase, which, he added, may add BRL11bn to the country's fiscal deficit.
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