The Brazilian government announced on Thursday afternoon (29th) a commitment to increase the import exemption quota for scientific research by 100 million US dollars (around 519 million R $). Even with the announcement, the amount remains below the amount released for exemption in previous years.
According to the Minister of Science and Technology, Marcos Pontes, “the tax authorities have promised that they will immediately top up another $ 100 million”. The speech was published on the Ministry of Science and Technology website.
This brings the quota for 2021 to 193 million US dollars, of which 93 million US dollars in exceptions had already been fully exhausted by the end of May. The value in 2020 was $ 300 million (more than R $ 1.5 billion in current values).
The announcement was made in response to pressure and demands from scientific institutions for the value of the import exemption to be reclaimed. In general, the import quota through the CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) enables institutions, companies and scientists to import equipment, accessories and raw materials for scientific and technological research free of charge.
This week’s Folha report showed that studies were halted due to the expiration of the leave quota for 2021. Some research institutes such as Butantan and Fiocruz-Fiotec have used other sources of income to continue the research carried out there, including studies related to Covid-19.
Several scientific institutions are demanding a full recovery from the Bolsonaro government.
On the 14th, Research Vice Rectors of USP, Unicamp and Unesp sent a letter to the Minister of Science and Technology demanding the reintroduction of the usual values of the import quota.
ABC (Brazilian Academy of Sciences), SBPC (Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science) and Confies (National Council of Support Foundations for Universities and Scientific and Technological Research Institutions) have also sent a letter to Pontes and Paulo Guedes, Ministers of Economy, looking for the full restoration of the quota.
The CNPq itself even sent an official letter to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in January to reinstate the quota, according to Lauro Jardim’s blog in the O Globo newspaper.