Rousseff: Brazil govt underestimated crisis


BRASÍLIA: Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff admitted on Thursday (Friday in Manila) that her government’s “biggest mistake” was underestimating the magnitude of the economic crisis the recession-hit South American country has faced in recent years.

In a meeting with a small group of journalists, Rousseff cited economic uncertainty in China and severe drought in Brazil in explaining the slowdown in her own country, the world’s seventh largest economy.

“The biggest mistake was failing to see that the crisis was so big in 2014, failing to gauge the magnitude of the economic slowdown due to internal and external problems,” she said, as quoted by the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Rousseff, whose approval rating has slipped to single digits as she faces calls for impeachment over a public financing scandal, said her top priority this year would be to rein in inflation and bring Brazil back to a budget surplus.

Inflation in 2015 is thought to have risen above 10 percent, although official figures are not due out until Friday. Rousseff wants to bring that figure back down to 6.5 percent.

The political chaos swirling around Rousseff has added to Brazil’s economic woes, with GDP down 4.5 percent in the third quarter year-over-year, and the national currency, the real, down one-third against the dollar in 2015.

Rousseff also said that in 2016, Brazil should debate reforms to its pensions systems, with life expectancy on the rise.

“We cannot have the average retirement age be 55 years old,” she said.

The leftist president said she believed the opposition would back some of her initiatives that are in the nation’s best interests.



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