May 12, 2020 / 5:47 PM / in 22 days

Brazil lower house approves redirecting $1.5 bln fund to coronavirus fight

BRASILIA, May 12 (Reuters) - Brazil’s lower house of congress on Tuesday approved a decree scrapping the central bank’s monetary reserve fund and directing the near 9 billion reais in it ($1.5 billion) towards the fight against coronavirus.

The presidential decree, which requires full congressional approval to come into effect, now goes to the Senate.

The decree had originally stated that the fund, built up from a tax on certain financial transactions such as credit card purchases and foreign exchange operations, would be used to pay down the public debt.

It was altered recently, however, to raise funds to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

$1 = 5.80 reais Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello Writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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