RIO DE JANEIRO Jan 30 Brazil's government
will raise the minimum wage to 465 reais ($200.95) a month in
2009, Labor Minister Carlos Lupi said on Friday, injecting
more than 21 billion reais in Latin America's largest
Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage will rise 6.39
percent from 415 reais and the increase will take effect on
Sunday, which is Feb 1.
The minimum wage has risen around 46 percent since
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to power in 2003.
"This is an important means to heat up the Brazilian
economy," Lupi said. "It represents more people with money in
their pockets and this means more consumption, more sales,
more production and more jobs."
Lula made the eradication of poverty a cornerstone of his
administration. By raising the minimum wage above inflation
and increasing government handouts, the government has lifted
millions of Brazilians out of destitution in recent years.
Lupi said 42.1 million Brazilians would benefit directly
from the adjustment, including pensioners and retirees.
Still, analysts say the higher minimum wage may add
pressure to Brazil's deteriorating fiscal accounts since the
government increases public pensions in tandem with the salary
Lupi also expects the rise in the minimum wage to
contribute between 0.1 percentage point and 0.2 percentage
point to Brazil's gross domestic product growth this year.
Brazil's economy is expected to slow to 2 percent from
2008 growth above 5 percent.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Ana Nicolaci da
Costa; Editing by Jan Paschal)