Lula government blocks gas aid budget, 2 million people could be without benefits in December

BRASILIA – President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva’s government cuts funding from gas aid, potentially leaving 2 million households without benefits at the end of the year. The program pays for cooking gas for low-income residents, but was affected by the shear determined by the Esplanada dos Ministerios.

Lula has an audience with Wellington Diaz, Minister for Development, Social Assistance, Families and Fighting Hunger, who is responsible for paying benefits. photograph: Ricardo Staccato/PR

The Ministry of Development, Social Assistance, Families and Fighting Hunger blocked expenditure of R$262 million for gas aid, according to a study by the Contas Abertas Association, using data from the System of Integrated Planning and Budgeting (Siop).

This amount represents 14% of the program budget (totaling R$1.8 billion) that has not yet been disclosed to beneficiaries. Given the number of families served and the benefits currently being paid, either there will be no money or some families will be left alone by the end of the year.

The ministry was subject to a 262 million reais blockade by two government decrees. The entire cut was on Ausirio Gas, a program created during the Jair Bolsonaro administration, and other areas within the portfolio were unaffected. For example, congressional amendments saved money.

The portfolio, led by Minister Wellington Diaz, acknowledged that the decision “could impact Ausirio Gas, but only in December” and blocked the program as no losses were incurred “at this time”. said he did.

The ministry also said the blocked amount will be lifted by the end of the year. If that doesn’t happen, be prepared to “allocate resources from other budgetary measures”, ie guarantee gas aid and not give funding to other sectors of society.

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Importantly, the lockdown extends to the unnecessary rather than the essential, in order to maintain public policy priorities.

Mr. Gil Castello Blanco, Secretary General of the Contas Abertas Association

The government implemented the blockade because it pointed out the danger of exceeding the ceiling on public spending, an act that would lead to the impeachment of the president of the republic. Even with such coercion, it is up to the ministries to define what actions can be performed without bond. This feature will only unlock once your financial situation is resolved, but there is no time limit.

Auxílio Gás was founded in 2021 to help families who started cooking with firewood and alcohol in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic because they couldn’t afford gas. At that time, some people were hospitalized with burns. The amount currently paid is 110 reais per family for every two months of his, based on the average price of his 13-kilogram cylinder in Brazil.

“Blocks can be temporary or permanent, depending on revenue and expenditure trends. It’s about going beyond,” said Gil Castello Branco, secretary general of the Contas Abertas Association.

I have already paid 3 times (February, April and June). His family will continue to need help in August, October and December. Working with the amount available to the government, this block would represent her 795,000 households. If, as promised, the two future installments serve the same number of people, the two million beneficiaries will be short of funds in December.

As Estadón revealed, the blockade has also extended to strategic areas in the Ministry of Education, with basic education, children’s literacy, school transport and scholarships being cut off in the same week Lula launched his full-time education program. Resources such as gold were blocked.

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