Governors from 26 states met on Wednesday (25), by videoconference, to discuss emergency actions amid the spread of the new coronavirus (covid-19) in the country. They called for measures such as suspending the payment of debts and loans with the Union and federal public banks and the immediate approval of the Complementary Bill 149/2019, known as the Mansueto Plan, which implements a new financial aid program for states and municipalities.
The meeting took place after the governors met, in separate groups, with the President of the Republic and ministers, also by videoconference, in the last three days. Only the governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha, did not attend today’s meeting.
They also demanded more support from the federal government for the acquisition of equipment and supplies necessary for the preparation of hospital beds. “We need an adequate structure, we have few ICU beds [unidades de Terapia Intensiva]. We need more testing for the coronavirus “, said the governor of Rondônia, Marcos Rocha.
Last Monday (23), the federal government had already announced the suspension of the payment of installments of debts and financial aid to compensate for the drop in the collection of the states.
According to the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, a letter with the main suggestions of the governors will be sent to the President of the Republic and ministers. “All the governors made interventions, helped and contributed to the elaboration of the letter from the governors, which will be distributed soon, and forwarded to the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, and to his finance ministers [Economia] and Health. The objective of the governors is to defend Brazil and protect Brazilians in each of their states, in terms of health, their lives and the economic plan “, he said.
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, participated in the videoconference and suggested that the governors prioritize emergency measures, which guarantee the functioning of the states and avoid unemployment.
“We need to solve the short term, guarantee employment, guarantee the income of municipalities and states so that they can continue to function. We have to deal with the short term,” he said.
In a reference to social isolation measures, governors said they would continue to adopt rules based on technical recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Pernambuco had its first coronavirus death yesterday, and that only reinforces all the understanding that it has put into practice since the beginning of this pandemic in Brazil. The restrictions that have been made are on the right path, due to the fact that the states have to prepare “, said the Pernambuco governor, Paulo Câmara.
According to him, state governments still need to buy time to set up a more adequate structure of beds and health equipment to face a period of high demand, which will occur in the coming weeks. The governor of Mato Grosso, Mauro Mendes, pondered, on the other hand , that social isolation measures should be taken in a balanced way, so as not to further affect the economy.
“I cannot take the measure here in Mato Grosso that São Paulo took because I have here 13 times less population in an area three times larger. So, I am very afraid of the economic reflexes of all these restrictions that started to appear in Brazil , and here in my state “, he said.
Employment and income
At the meeting, governors also expressed concern about job security and social assistance. “Coronavirus kills and so does hunger, so our focus is that we are all committed to the health of the population and the survival of the most vulnerable sectors of our society. I support what has been said, guaranteeing jobs and protecting the millions of people who work in informality, they are helpless “, stated the governor of Rio Grande do Norte, Fátima Bezerra.
“May we create a broad income transfer program for poor families, taking as a reference the beneficiaries of existing programs,” said Pará Governor Helder Barbalho, stating that there is R $ 1 trillion in resources from the National Treasury in linked revenues not used.
The members of the National Front of Mayors (FNP), which includes 406 municipalities with a population of more than 80 thousand inhabitants, released this Wednesday positioning about the manifestations of President Jair Bolsonaro in the statement broadcast on radio and TV this Tuesday (24). In the document, the managers defend that “protecting the lives of people, of Brazilian citizens is the ultimate goal of those who have the responsibility to lead, whether in the municipalities, in the states and even more in the country”.
The mayors reported that they did not have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) that would be made available by the federal government and that the R $ 8 billion, divided into four months, destined to the health area in the states and municipalities, has not yet been paid. In the note, they call for “the necessary and constitutional leadership of the federal government in tackling this pandemic”.