Covid resources may be reallocated by municipalities, defines new ordinance

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A new Ordinance 973/24, published by the Ministry of Development and Social Assistance, Family and Combating Hunger (MDS), allows resources sent to municipalities during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic to now be reallocated to social assistance. Payroll costs, purchase of equipment, vehicles and materials for the execution of social assistance services are allowed — and must be done by December 31st of this year.

Budget advisor Cesar Lima explains that the ordinance regulates the use of money that had been sitting idle since the end of the pandemic emergency.

“It was money that was frozen within the municipalities’ coffers and which can now be used on a daily basis, including for funding and investments”, explains the advisor. He further assesses that these resources should provide services to the population, even enabling the expansion of health and social assistance areas.

R$17 billion unspent since the pandemic

A survey by the National Confederation of Municipalities (CNM) estimates that the amounts “left over” from the Covid-19 emergency exceed R$17 billion. Now, with the possibility of a new destination, they should mainly benefit smaller and needier cities, as explained by the vice-president of the Union of Municipalities of Bahia (UPB), Júlio Pinheiro.

“Now this possibility of also implementing these resources for social assistance gives more flexibility so that managers can meet the demands of each municipality based on their needs and the local context. There is a lot of transfer of funding and investment resources for health — and there is not the same proportion for social assistance.”

The new allocation, according to Pinheiro, “will allow the manager to choose important bodies and programs such as CRAS, CREAS and reference teams, coexistence services and strengthening ties, which are important programs for social assistance”, he concludes.

R$17 billion that were for Covid can only be spent on health

How resources should be used

Ordinance No. 973/24 has already come into force and revokes the old Ordinance 884/23, which restricted pandemic resources to the health sector only. Accountability must follow the guidelines established by Ordinance MDS 113/2015, or subsequent regulations. Therefore, any balances that are not invested throughout this year must be returned to the National Social Assistance Fund.

Edition: Zildenor Dourado

Zildenor Dourado has a degree in Journalism and Literature/Portuguese from the University of Brasília. He is a specialist in Legislative Communication, from Unilegis, of the Federal Senate. He worked as a reporter and editor for the newspapers Tribuna da Bahia, A Tarde and Jornal de Brasília. in addition to several union press vehicles. He worked as a publicist for the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District, where he was a reporter, editor and head of the Publicity and Press Relations Section.

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