Brazil's Lula says he would tax rich more, change Petrobras fuel price policy

Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks at Sindicato dos Metalurgicos do ABC (ABC Steelworkers' Union), in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil January 29, 2022. REUTERS/Carla Carniel/File Photo

BRASILIA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Former Leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading early polls ahead of October elections, said on Wednesday he would propose less taxation on the poor and more on the rich if he wins, and reduce fuel prices.

Speaking on radio interviews, Lula said he would propose raising the income tax exemption bracket to five times the minimum monthly wage, or 6,060 reais ($1,160), from 1,903 reais at present.

"This needs to be debated, because the rich pay less tax proportionally," he said on Radio Brasil of Campinas.

He would also back heavier taxes on profits and the adoption of a tax on dividends that does not exist in Brazil.

With fuel prices high at the pump, Lula said he would change the pricing policy of state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA), which refines products but also imports gasoline.

"We are going to take care of the price of gasoline and diesel," he said, criticizing pricing based on international levels.

Lula said Petrobras' strategy to sell refineries was wrong and the company should be investing more in refining capacity to become self-sufficient instead of paying such high dividends.

"Dollar-based gasoline prices makes no sense. We are going to change that. Petrobras will once again become an exporter of gasoline, diesel and refined products," he told a Pernambuco radio audience in a separate interview on Wednesday.

Lula said it was shameful that millions of Brazilians were going hungry in a country that is the world's third largest food producer and top meat exporter.

"We have to take resources from the richest and give them to the poorest. This is not Communism, this is Christianity," Lula said. "My cause is to see people eat again, study again, smile again."

($1 = 5.2232 reais)

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Richard Chang

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