Priorities are difficult to put in order – but Brazil vitally needs to unite around a concrete agenda to achieve these three:
1 Approve the administrative and tax reforms.
2 Combat the legal insecurity that is blocking investment.
3 Address the issues of the environment.
These are determinants for reactivating the economy, private investment and job creation.
Brazil needs to unite around a concrete agenda to raise it from a quagmire of economic stagnation, record unemployment and absence of investment. Part of the current economic slump can of course be attributed to the pandemic, but the fact is that the disaster in public health has only exacerbated the problems that had not been resolved before it happened.
Time was lost on unnecessary political disputes, and the sloth of the government in deciding what is most urgent for the country.
There are at least three key priorities that can pave the way to growth, private investment and job creation.
Priority one: structural reforms
The first essential is a reform of the structure of government service – employees, career structures, and organization.
This should aim to recognize those who serve well, and combat the inefficiency of the bureaucracy that torments the life of every Brazilian.
Currently, this bureaucracy makes it more expensive to do business in the country, helping to increase legal insecurity, and causing public services to be of extremely low quality.
The tax reform is fundamental for simplifying one of the most complex tax systems in the world, which adversely affects the productivity and competitiveness of Brazilian companies.
Priority two: legal security
The second priority is to combat legal insecurity: to eliminate the bureaucratic and legal logjams that hinder investment in infrastructure.
Investments in water and sewerage services, ports, roads, airlines and airports are vital to increase the country’s productivity, generate employment and improve the living conditions of thousands of Brazilians.
The capricious variability of decisions by judges, bureaucrats and oversight agencies, added to the complete dis-alignment of federal, state and municipal legislations, rules and regulations, together transform public concessions and public-private partnerships into a veritable legal nightmare.
It is not for nothing that since the government of Dilma Rousseff no federal government has been able to complete one single public-private sector partnership.
Priority three: environment
The third priority Brazil needs to address is the environment.
The country runs a serious risk of losing foreign investments and prejudicing its farm exports if we do not show a credible plan with clear targets and deadlines to combat the deforestation of the Amazon, and punish criminals who are wrecking the environment.
There is an urgent need to pass laws to regularize land ownership, vote a new law on environmental licensing, and break the feudal power fiefs of government bodies, to create a unified system of information, monitoring, inspection and oversight of the Amazon Region.
But for these priorities to be approved and put in place in the next six months, it is vital for the government, Congress and civil society to unite in the effort to get these priorities passed.
These three areas of legislation will be determinant in reactivating the economy, private investment and job creation.