August 13, 2019 / 9:09 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil tax reform to enter congressional committee by Oct. 8 -lawmaker

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By Marcela Ayres and Gabriel Ponte

BRASILIA, Aug 13 (Reuters) - A constitutional amendment to overhaul Brazil’s tax system, potentially comprising proposals from the government and lawmakers, will be put to a special congressional committee by Oct. 8, the bill’s coordinator Aguinaldo Ribeiro said on Tuesday.

Ribeiro said he wants to combine elements of the proposals from the government and Senate, but added that a new version of the so-called CPMF financial transactions tax will not be part of the final text.

Reforming and simplifying Brazil’s complex tax system, in order to reduce the country’s overall tax burden and stimulate economic growth, is one of the Economy Ministry’s top priorities in the second half of the year.

Ribeiro noted that the Senate is turning its attention to giving the final seal of approval to social security reform, so the lower house should take the baton on tax reform.

Speaking in Brasilia on Tuesday, Ribeiro said Economy Minister Paulo Guedes will present the government’s tax proposals “in the next few days.”

“I think we will have enough time to try to unify (the proposals),” Ribeiro said. “The idea is that we (lawmakers) will draft the text which will then be put to the plenary of the lower house.”

Also on Tuesday, Fernando Bezerra, leader of the government in the Senate, estimated that between 56 and 60 senators will vote for the landmark pension reform bill that aims to save the Treasury almost 1 trillion reais ($252 billion) over the next decade. The bill needs 49 votes to become law.

Another plank of the government’s reform agenda in the second half of this year to revive the sluggish economy will be a “federative pact” that will draw up new rules governing federal and regional budgets.

Simone Tebet, president of the Senate’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, said on Tuesday that upper house lawmakers could vote on elements to any “federative pact” proposal simultaneously with pension reform. ($1 = 3.96 reais) (Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia Writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker)

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