APLA '17: Leftist policies to blame for Brazil’s woes – economist

13 November 2017 15:01 Source:ICIS News

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (ICIS)--Brazil’s economic woes are the result of ill-conceived policies adopted by the country’s previous administration, an economist said.

After expanding rapidly for several years, Brazil plunged into a recession with its economy contracting by 3.8% in 2015 and by 3.6% in 2016, according to IBGE, the country's official statistics agency.

The fault lies with the ‘Bolivarian’ ideology of former president Dilma Rousseff, said Gustavo Franco, a well-known Brazilian economist, comparing Rousseff’s economic policies with those from neighboring Venezuela.

A former president of Brazil’s Central Bank, Franco spoke at the opening of the 37th Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

He said Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016 for breaking budgetary laws, caused significant damage to the Brazilian economy, but he was optimistic about the outlook for the country, regardless of the outcome in the presidential election of 2018.

A top contender in next year’s election is embattled former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who preceded and groomed Rousseff to succeed him after his two terms in office.

Lula is appealing a corruption conviction, which would bar him from running, and is also fighting other corruption charges that could eventually land him in prison.

Many in Brazil believe that a Lula return to politics could see the resumption of some of Rousseff’s policies, but Franco dismissed the notion that Lula would win or even be able to run because of his legal problems.

Franco spared Lula of the same criticism he directed at Rousseff, saying Brazil’s economy performed well during his eight years in office.

Lula was widely credited with adopting market-friendly policies during his presidency despite his political ideology.

Franco expects whoever wins Brazil’s presidential election next year to do the same thing.

The APLA meeting runs through Tuesday.

By William Lemos