Brazil plans $7 bln investment in urban infrastructure
BRASILIA, June 13 |
BRASILIA, June 13 (Reuters) - Brazil will announce 15 billion reais ($7.2 billion) in urban sanitation and road investments in coming weeks, the country's cities minister, Aguinaldo Ribeiro, said on Wednesday.
The investment plan will direct 5 billion reais toward paving roads and 10 billion reais toward basic sanitation as Brazil approaches municipal elections in October and President Dilma Rousseff tries to revive economic growth, which helped sweep her into office.
The funds originating from the Treasury will come on top of the 50 billion reais the government has already earmarked in so-called economic acceleration packages aimed at infrastructure in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics.
Overdue investments in roads, airports, ports, sewage and other infrastructure are seen by economists as essential to putting Brazil on the path to sustainable growth, after major macroeconomic reforms in the 1990s and the emergence of a new middle class in the past decade fell into place.
The government has been attempting to prod the economy into motion by slashing interest rates, cutting taxes and weakening the currency, after growth nearly slipped into negative territory late last year and has been slow to bounce back.
The pending midterm municipal elections will be viewed by analysts as a referendum on the Rousseff government, which is now 18 months into its first four-year term.
(Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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