In an arm wrestling match with the Ministry of Economy, the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) failed to comply with the agreement reached at the beginning of 2021, which provided for the return of R$ 100 billion of loans made by the Treasury to the state bank.
Economy Minister Paulo Guedes counted on the return of these R$ 100 billion in his strategy to reduce public debt in 2021, after higher spending on the covid-19 pandemic combat strategy, starting in March 2020 .
In the projections for the gross debt, the economic team counted on the fulfillment of the return schedule of R$ 100 billion in 2021 and of another R$ 54 billion in 2022. For 2021, the government projected a debt of 80.6% of the Product Gross Domestic (GDP), down to 79.5% the following year. That scenario will now have to be changed.
This week, the BNDES made the last payment of the year, in the amount of R$ 3.5 billion, totaling R$ 62.6 billion in early repayment in 2021. Another R$ 4.6 billion were paid referring to ordinary installments.
understand the case
The Treasury’s loans to BNDES marked the economic policy of the Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments and served to finance the financing of companies at cheaper interest rates and subsidized rates.
After the Federal Court of Accounts determined the irregularity of the operations, almost five years ago, a schedule of returns was closed, after some resistance from BNDES, which was even charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office with the TCU with regard to making payments .
In March of this year, however, the development bank itself had confirmed that it would return the amounts in advance in a proposal sent to the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU).
The TCU plenary considered as irregular the loan contracts signed between the Union and public banks carried out through the direct issuance of Treasury bonds, either to carry out sectorial public policies or to increase the financial institution’s capital.
The purpose of the return is to make it possible to reduce the balance of the federal public debt and the projected amount of credit subsidies. But the operation was always the target of resistance from the bank, which had part of the bonds transferred by the Treasury in its cash to reinforce its profit.
Asked by the state, the bank claimed that the return plan had two distinct anticipation schedules: one of firm commitment, in which advances should observe the rate of return of resources used in credit operations, and another called “best efforts”, whose effective execution is subject to the fulfillment of “certain conditions” precedent that ended up not being carried out.
In the statement, the BNDES did not explain what these conditions would be. But he recognized that the best efforts schedule is a way to accelerate early liquidation that is subject to certain conditions that do not lead to “the bank’s financial loss”.
As the Treasury loans later considered irregular by the TCU were made under more favorable conditions, this type of schedule, in practice, opens a gap so that anticipation does not occur because the bank will always claim that it will have losses with the transfer to the Treasury.
The bank’s articulation of using this type of loophole has generated friction with the Ministry of Economy, especially at a time when the government’s commitment to fiscal austerity is being questioned by the market.
According to the development bank, the balance of liabilities considered to be irregular amounts to R$ 98 billion. The bank informed that the speed of settlement will depend on meeting conditions that lead to losses.
Sought by Estadão, the Ministry of Economy informed that the schedule will only be fulfilled at the end of the returns. The information is from the newspaper The State of São Paulo.