BRASILIA – Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro signed on Tuesday, hours after his inauguration, a decree in which he set the minimum wage at 998 reais ($257.5) for 2019, an increase of 4.61 percent over last year.
In absolute numbers, the value is 44 reais ($11.3) higher than the minimum wage of 954 reais ($246.1 on Jan. 1) decreed for 2018 by former president Michel Temer, who on Tuesday handed the presidential sash to the far-right leader.
The figure is less than the 1,006 reais ($259.6) calculated by the outgoing government and included in the 2019 budget.
The increase of the minimum wage in Brazil is decided with a formula that takes into account inflation, the growth rate of the previous year and other variables.
The reduction between the value finally decreed by Bolsonaro and that reflected in the budgets is due to a decrease in inflation estimates.
The readjustment of the minimum wage is traditionally decreed in the last days of December, but Temer decided to leave the matter to the new head of state, who chose to fix it hours after his swearing in.
Bolsonaro, leader of the far-right, was sworn in on Tuesday as president in Brasilia, after winning the elections in October with 55 percent of the votes.
In his two public pronouncements before Congress and the thousands of supporters waiting in front of Planalto’s presidential palace, Bolsonaro promised to free Brazil from ideological ties, govern “without discrimination” and carry out the economic reforms necessary to overcome the effects of the crisis.
He also reiterated that he proposes to open international markets for Brazilian exports, stimulating competition, productivity and efficiency and with special attention to the agricultural sector, which is the main engine of the national economy.