Brazilian embassies and consulates around the world are delaying the payment of rent, electricity, internet and water bills due to reduced resources sent by Itamaraty.
In a consulate in a European country, it was possible to pay the phone bill and the lease (a kind of fixed-term lease) of the cars, but the electricity, water and condominium bills are late.
The station received around 10% of the allocation planned for maintenance and now has less than 100 euros (R $ 676) available at the bank.
“We are also behind on the social security of employees, by paying a fine,” said a diplomat from the post. “Before, we don’t have any money, but we will have it in 15 days. From now on, there is no prospect, the wear and tear of the image of Brazil abroad is gigantic, ”declared the diplomat.
All the diplomats interviewed by Folha, stationed on four continents, did not want to identify themselves, for fear of reprisals.
Itamaraty is one of the ministries most affected by the reduction in resources due to the delay in approving the 2021 budget. Due to political disputes, the budget was not voted by Congress last year and is still In progress.
According to the norm provided for in the legislation, until the budget is approved, there will be a limit on “expenditure with current expenditure of an urgent nature” (such as the cost of the public sector) up to 1/12 of the amount. provided for in the budget bill transmitted by the Executive, from month to month.
For Itamaraty, however, the situation is even worse. Around 80% of the portfolio’s discretionary spending is made abroad, mainly in hard currencies, in a period of severe exchange rate devaluation.
In a Brazilian embassy in an African country, the rent for the chancellery and the residence is delayed. “I had to explain to the owner that it was the fault of Congress, which has not yet approved the 2021 budget,” said a diplomat at the post. “Fortunately, the electricity has already been paid for, but as we do not get enough money for consumption equipment, we pay for gasoline for official vehicles and liters of water to drink from our pocket. “
Itamaraty determined a prioritization of expenses, starting with the remuneration of local entrepreneurs, followed by expenses essential to the functioning of the Secretariat of State, and, later, functional residences abroad, favoring category servants with a functional hierarchy and lower values. The cuts also affected housing assistance for diplomats and officials abroad.
In addition, the ministry sent a circular to Posts advising diplomats to negotiate with owners not to pay late fees. “Most gas stations have expenses with the payment of rent from official properties (rent or condominium fees) and have been instructed to immediately notify owners or condos that rent payments and charges for the months of January, February and, possibly, March will not take place on time and will be regularized as soon as possible, depending on budget availability, ”Itamaraty informed.
“This is a temporary situation and does not depend on the management of the ministry,” said the minister.
Although the ministry has given priority to salaries, in some countries where payment is made on the first day of the month, payments will be delayed because funds have not arrived.
Payments are normally made on the fifth business day of each month. Therefore, if the funds do not reach the posts by the end of next week, they will officially be late.
“If this does not really affect local wages and the situation normalizes in March or April, it will be possible to take it. Otherwise, we will have to face a complicated ball, ”says a diplomat from a European embassy who receives only 30% of the resources made available.
In a consulate in North America, the rent and other bills for February haven’t been paid, and probably those for March won’t be either. Until Friday (26), the resources had not arrived.
Unpaid fees include condominium fees, cleaning service (important for consulates serving the public, due to Covid-19), telephone, electricity, and security. In January, the post received only 20% of the maintenance budget. “We paid for part of the security and cell phones because they were the most urgent, which could generate short-term cuts,” said a diplomat.
The owner of the consulate has indicated that he will charge a fine for the delay in hiring, and if there is a delay in the salaries of local officials, the diplomat believes there may be protests.
Itamaraty maintains a network of 214 service stations in 130 countries. Congress is expected to vote on the budget at the end of March. According to Itamaraty, the situation will be normalized when the budget is approved.