the President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) It intends to expand financing from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) to other countries, but the bank’s existing partners are adding debt amounting to R$5.1 billion with the foundation.
Since 1998, when the line of credit was established, some debtor countries have defaulted on their obligations. Until September 2022, there were unfulfilled payments by Mozambique (R$627 million), Cuba (R$1.1 billion), and Venezuela (R$3.5 billion).
When a debtor defaults, BNDES is compensated by the Export Guarantee Fund (FGE), which covers defaults by national companies abroad. FGE has already returned nearly R$5 billion to the bank – which means there is still R$100 million left.
The origin of the resources that feed the FGE is Brazilian. The fund consists, for example, of the result of financial investments of BNDES resources, commissions resulting from the provision of guarantees and resources from the federal budget.
the R7 BNDES questioned when the amounts would be covered in full. The bank confirmed that the full amount would be refunded, but did not detail when.
According to the Secretariat for Social Liaison of the Presidency of the Republic, “there is no risk of harm,” since “BNDES agreements include guarantees and insurance and there is a long tradition of receiving what you lent.” In addition, according to the dossier, “financing is done for Brazilian companies that will export and create jobs here in Brazil.”
The proposal is under review
The proposed expansion of BNDES funding was discussed by the President and Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, who I was on an official trip to Argentinaone of the countries benefiting from the line providing for the sending of remittances to other countries, BNDES Exim Pós-blockque.
Lula said he would “make efforts” to expand the public bank’s relationship with partner countries. Including Argentina. “I think it is possible and necessary for Brazil to help finance other countries. This is what we will do given the economic conditions of our country,” the president declared.
Jurist Ives Gandra views Lula’s efforts with “concern”. For a lawyer, the focus of BNDES should be on inner growth. “We have to attract foreign investors to Brazil, not move companies abroad,” he says. “He talks about Brazilian financing for Argentina, when, in fact, we need to invest in Brazil, our country is hungry and needs jobs.”
Gandra also highlights the political nature of the issue. “We are all fighting and learning, including the federal government itself, that we cannot accept attacks against democracy. We have to preserve Brazilian democracy, so it is better to work with other democracies. So, there is retribution here.” [pelos atos extremistas de 8 de janeiro]but intends to deal with dictatorial regimes.
Attorney Maria Victoria Hernandez Lerner, former advisor to the presidency of BNDES, explains that the line of credit operating abroad does not fail to meet the goals of the bank. “The Bank encourages the development of Brazilian companies. It is important to stress that the expenditure of BNDES resources for infrastructure in Brazil is about 36%, while the total support for Brazilian goods and services exports to foreign countries is 1.3% of the Bank’s total payments,” he says.
Of the total value of the BNDES line of overseas business financing, 98% was delivered to Brazilian contractors investigated by Operation Lava Jato. In 2016, when the investigations came to light, BNDES reached an agreement with the Federal Public Prosecution Service (MPF) and began requiring companies to sign a compliance clause (conformity), with governance rules, as a condition for the release of resources.
After this action, BNDES withheld R$56.5 billion that was expected to be disbursed in 47 operations.
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