Brazil's Bolsonaro says pandemic aid payments could vary in value

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during a ceremony to launch a program to help new mayors, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino//File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday said that emergency payments to aid the poor in the pandemic could vary from 150 reais to more than 300 reais ($26.36-$52.72), while a plan being considered in Congress provides for cash transfers of 250 reais.

“We made an agreement, if I’m not mistaken, of 42 billion reais for four months of installments of 250 (reais), on average,” he told supporters outside his official residence.

“Why on average? There’s a story of a single mother or I don’t know what, so it will vary from 150 to 300 reais and a bit.”

The Senate approved the plan for four months of payments of 250 reais each on Thursday. The proposal is set for a vote in the lower house next week.

Brazil’s previous program of emergency payments, which expired in December, cost the government some 322 billion reais but is credited for a less severe-than-expected economic contraction of 4.1% in 2020.

($1 = 5.6908 reais)

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Editing by Leslie Adler