São Paulo – President Jair Bolsonaro edited a Provisional Measure (MP 1136) that limits transfers of resources from the National Scientific Development Fund (FNDC) to science and research entities. The fund is the main source of financing for the sector in Brazil. The measure is related to the lack of fiscal control of the government. In this way, once again the president acts to stifle the country’s science, technology and innovation. About 50 scientific entities rise up against the new attack.
“This action seems to obey the logic of preventing our scientific development, with a strong (negative) impact on our economy”, states a letter from the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC). “The Federal Government does not give up fighting the financing of science and technology in Brazil”, continues the document. “There have been many initiatives by the Federal Executive Branch to annul the determination of Complementary Law 177/2021, which prohibits it from taking money from the FNDCT. In 2021, he diverted resources from CNPq. And yesterday, at the end of the day, Provisional Measure 1136 was enacted, which mutilates the Fund’s budget not only now, but for several years”, complete the scientists.
The measure goes against laws passed by Congress that veto the contingency of funds from the FNDC. In this way, the Executive acts in an atypical way, since it fails to comply with the determination of the Legislative. The president of SBPC, philosopher Renato Janine Ribeiro, says that the fact violates the harmony between the powers. “It is evident that by suspending, by provisional measure, the application of laws passed several times by Congress, the Executive is disrespecting the independence of the constitutional powers. It is invading a space that is not its own, but in which it should respect the other powers, the Legislative and the Judiciary.”
Reaction in Parliament
The SBPC also signed a manifesto of the Initiative for Science and Technology in Parliament (ICTP.br), which was joined by 80 entities. The document states that the contingency intended by Bolsonaro will cause an “impossible to assess” damage to Brazilian science. “Institutions are punished for being efficient in the use and transparency of public resources. This means that more than 70 actions and programs that are currently carried out by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, CNPq, Finep and the Social Organizations linked to the Ministry, will be directly harmed.”
Bolsonaro’s MP goes beyond even his current term, as the cut in funds is scheduled for until 2027. If maintained, the measure will limit the possibility of a possible new president from 2023 on being prevented from drawing up public policies to stimulate innovation and scientific research.
“To make the situation worse, the MP still imposes a staggering until 2027 of the percentages of the Budget that will be released to the FNDCT. In practice, all actions and programs that are not honored in 2022 will be transferred to 2023, thus compromising this year’s released budget, and so on, until 2027”, he explains.
Finally, the entities argue that the MP can lead Brazil to a “collapse” in the technology sector. “The entities that make up the Initiative for Science and Technology in Parliament – ICTP.Br, together with several other associations and institutions that are part of the Brazilian science, technology and innovation system, urge the President of the National Congress, Senator Rodrigo Pacheco, to the necessary return of MP 1136”, concludes the document, which asks parliamentarians to veto the Bolsonaro government’s initiative.