Brazil's Lula unveils $878 billion investment plan

06.04.2010 By: Transfer based on Reuters

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched a $878 billion program to upgrade Brazil's infrastructure that will be a major campaign banner for his chosen candidate in October elections. Days before Lula's chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, must step down to be able to campaign for president, the government said spending on the program would be $878 billion in the coming years, with $530 billion earmarked for between 2011 and 2014.

By 2014, the new phase of the plan will spend an estimated $154 billion on the "My House, My Life" government program to provide low-income families with housing, while $57.7 billion will go to upgrading the often decrepit transport system. The country's energy sector will receive $257 billion, according to a government document.

Government figures show that only about half of the nearly 2,500 projects mandated under the first phase of the program have been completed. As well as making Brazilians' lives harder, transport and other infrastructure bottlenecks prevent the country from achieving more lofty economic growth rates comparable to fellow emerging giants like India and China. Brazil's ability to successfully host the world's biggest sporting events -- the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 -- will also depend on ramping up spending on transport and stadiums.

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