By Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil will likely raise taxes lower next year to reduce a key budget deficit to between 150 and 160 billion reais ($48.06 billion), congressman Arthur de Lira told Reuters on Wednesday after a meeting with government officials to discuss the target.
Lira said the government’s economic team will meet again early on Thursday to decide on the target for the primary budget deficit, or the public sector’s shortfall before interest debt payments.
Lira, who is the head of the Congress joint budget committee, said the government is considering raising the Cide fuel tax or the PIS/Cofins social tax contribution as a way to reduce the deficit.
“There is not agreement yet on the target. They are trying to reach something between 150 and 160 billion reais, which will include measures such as raising taxes,” Lira said.
Senator Wellington Fagundes, a member who also participated in the meeting, said he expects the budget committee to vote on the target on Wednesday.
Fagundes said the government will most likely raise the Cide tax instead of the PIS/Cofins tax.
Interim President Michel Temer and Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles participated in the meeting along with lawmakers and other members of the economic team.
Temer set for this year a primary deficit target of 170.5 billion reais, a record shortfall as revenues plunge amid the country’s worst recession in decades.
(Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sandra Maler)