After almost two months without changing the price of diesel, Petrobras announced yesterday a readjustment of 8.87% for the product in refineries, an index that must be passed on in full to consumers.
With the first increase in the management of José Mauro Coelho, who took over the state-owned company on April 14, fuel accumulates a high of 52.53% in 12 months, according to the IPCA-15.
In reaction, the government’s political core and allies in Congress renewed pressure for a fuel subsidy before the election.
The measure would add to the discussion between the ministries of a proposal to also mitigate the impact of energy tariff readjustments authorized by Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency). Projects to suspend further price hikes are already being processed in Congress, as a matter of urgency.
Government officials want to avoid wear and tear in an election year, at a time when opponents of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) focus criticism on high prices. Specialists say that the new diesel adjustment, which falls mainly on transport, will put more pressure on inflation.
According to Estadão/Broadcast, after the announcement of the state-owned company’s record profit in the first quarter, the political area defends the subsidy on the grounds that government revenues from the payment of dividends by the company will increase.
Petrobras has already transferred to the government since 2019 almost R$ 447 billion in taxes, royalties and participations.
To grant the subsidy, however, the government and Congress would have to race against time and make changes to the spending ceiling, contrary to the Ministry of Economy.
Another option would be to cut expenses to make room in the rule that ties spending growth to inflation, but there is no room. On the contrary, the “hole” in the ceiling has widened with new measures approved in recent weeks.
A member of the economic team stated that the government last year reduced the taxation of diesel, and the measure would not have been passed on to prices, as well as the change in the collection of ICMS (state tax) on fuels.
Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) will meet with Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to discuss the matter.
Next Thursday (12), he receives the state secretaries of Finance. In the economic team, the complaint is that the states, even after approving a project that changed the ICMS collection, would have frozen prices at the peak.
The increase in diesel was already expected by the sector in view of the escalation of oil prices abroad.
In a note, Petrobras stated that the last adjustment, made on March 11, “reflected only part of the increase observed in market prices” and that, at the moment, there is a worldwide reduction in the supply of fuel – which puts pressure on prices globally. .
The spotlight is now on the price of gasoline. In a report, the broker Ativa Investimentos says that the readjustment of the input should happen soon.
“We believe there is still potential for the company to readjust to gasoline, which could have been avoided at first, but should happen over the next few days/weeks,” he said.
On the energy tariff side, the proposal under discussion is to allow an anticipation of resources for the CDE (Energy Development Account), a sectoral fund that finances the subsidies granted in sectoral policies.
The contribution would reduce the need for consumers to pay these costs now in the electricity bill, without going through the Budget.
A member of the economic team said that the government could allow the deferral of receiving the grant in the process of privatization of Eletrobras in exchange for advancing the funds to the CDE.
The sales model predicts the payment of a grant to the Treasury and the CDE in five years. What is being studied is to exchange one for the other — that is: pay everything this year to the CDE, which would guarantee greater relief in the account.