May 2, 2013 / 12:28 AM / 6 years ago

Brazil's Rousseff insists oil royalties should fund education

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Wednesday she has sent lawmakers another proposal to earmark all oil royalties collected by the state for public education after Congress shelved an earlier effort.

President Dilma Rousseff meets with representatives of Cry Of The Earth, a protest event organized by the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (CONTAG), at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

She made the announcement in a televised Labor Day speech in which she said improving education was vital for Brazil’s development in a highly competitive world.

Rousseff last year proposed earmarking for education all revenue from future oil royalties, which are expected to rise when Brazil taps huge subsalt fields off its Atlantic coast.

Despite her personal entreaties, legislators suspended discussion of the plan last week after it got caught up in a dispute between Brazil’s states over how to share out the country’s oil wealth.

A presidential press spokesman said he did not know whether the new plan to tie oil royalties to education was different from the first proposal.

Rousseff called on Brazilians to press their legislators to back her effort.

In her speech, Rousseff said Brazil achieved record-low unemployment last year, while other countries were losing jobs.

She promised that Brazil’s sluggish economy would return to sustainable growth after more than a year of near-zero economic expansion, and that her government would continue to cut taxes and reduce costs for local businesses and consumers.

Rousseff said her government will not relax its efforts to curb inflation, which in March rose to 6.59 percent, the highest 12-month rate in 14 years.

“This is a constant, unchanging and permanent battle,” she said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Xavier Briand

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