Fight looms as Brazil govt mulls military pensions cut
March 16 2019 01:23 AM
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Reuters/ Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian military officers will have to contribute more into the social security system and for longer, Pension Reform Secretary Rogerio Marinho said yesterday, outlining what can be expected in proposals to be put to Congress next week.
Marinho said the overhaul of military pensions, one of the most controversial elements in the government’s cornerstone policy to slash social security spending, are not finalised but will be delivered by March 20, the administration’s self-imposed deadline.
He also said rules regarding military police and fire service pensions will be the same as the armed forces.
This should ease the financial burden on states, whose combined deficit with the federal government stands at some 200bn reais ($52bn), Treasury figures show.
Representatives from more than 10 Brazilian states have met with Economy Minister Paulo Guedes seeking financial aid, Marinho added, a number that he says will only grow.
“If any group gets any special benefit, it will be necessary to show what it will cost, and that this will mean less investment in housing and health,” Marinho said at an event in Rio de Janeiro.
President Jair Bolsonaro presented his pension reform bill, which seeks to raise the minimum retirement age for men and women and aims to save around 1.2tn reais ($314bn) over the next decade, on February 20.
Proposed changes to military pensions, which target eventual savings of less than 100bn reais, were left for a month later.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain and congressman who got his start in politics advocating better compensation for troops and police, has said he has overcome his previous resistance to pension reform, especially in the armed forces. His allies are urging him not to back down now.
“In my state there is a saying: if a cow gets through, the whole herd will follow,” lawmaker Elmar Nascimento, lower house whip for the DEM party, the government’s main ally in Congress, told Reuters this week.
Nascimento said police who often risk their lives fighting armed criminals, should get a special pension deal, but not the armed forces. “What is the sacrifice the armed forces are making in their careers? There is not war. A different pension system for the military is not justified,” he said.

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