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Brazil to pull millions out of extreme poverty
February 26, 2013, 2:15 am

President DIlma Rousseff  is determined to wipe out extreme poverty [Getty Images]

President Dilma Rousseff is determined to wipe out extreme poverty [Getty Images]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced Monday a measure to lift 2.5 million people out of extreme poverty by increasing supplementary family incomes through the country’s Bolsa Família social program to above R$ 70 ($ 36) per person per month, an official press release said.

Increased payments will begin in March 2013.

“By reaching out to these 2.5 million citizens, the federal government is on track to reach a milestone of 22 million Brazilians lifted out of extreme poverty in terms of income since the ‘Brazil without Extreme Poverty’ plan launched in 2011,” the press release said.

At a ceremony in Brasília, Rousseff said, “Brazil turns a decisive page in our past history of social exclusion. On this page, it is written that over 2.5 million Brazilian men and women are leaving extreme poverty.”

The government will provide increased access to training and public services, and raise income to R$ 70 ($36) per month, which is the benchmark used by the “Brazil without Extreme Poverty” plan to define extreme poverty.

The supplementary income for these 2.5 million Bolsa Família beneficiaries will represent an investment of R$ 773 million ($395 million) in 2013.

Brazil’s Minister of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger Tereza Campello said, “This is a milestone in our journey. We’ve anticipated deadlines and targets, ensuring that 2.5 million Brazilians overcome the poverty line. This decision and its effects are founded on huge efforts made by Brazil in the past 10 years to build the Bolsa Família program.

The new measures come as new economic data revealed that Brazil’s inflation rate continued to dog the country’s efforts to push GDP growth to pre-2011 levels when it grew by 2.7 per cent.

In 2010, Brazil’s economy grew by 7.5 per cent. Analysts say the economy could grow by 3.1 per cent in 2013 and 3.65 per cent in 2014.

The country’s 12-month inflation rate rose to 6.15 per cent in January.

The central bank maintains an inflation benchmark of 4.5 per cent, with a two percentage plus or minus acceptance threshold.

Market analysts predict inflation forecasts for 2013 from 5.71 per cent to 5.70 but say that is too high and eating away at salary gains and consumer confidence.

BRICS POST and agencies