Jair Bolsonaro asks supermarkets to lower prices for “patriotism”

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The president of Brazil called for reducing the cost of basic foods, such as rice and beans. He fears a rise in inflation, in the midst of the crisis due to the coronavirus.

The president of Brazil, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, on Friday asked the owners of supermarkets to lower the price of basic foods out of “patriotism”, given the rise in the value of some products such as rice and beans.

“Is rice and beans rising? Just so you know, I have already talked with intermediaries, I am going to talk shortly with the association of supermarkets,” said the president in statements quoted by local media during a visit to the city of Registry, in the state of San Pablo.

Bolsonaro, who won the 2018 elections with an ultra-liberal agenda, denied that his request involves interference in the market.

“I am asking for a sacrifice, patriotism for the large supermarket owners, to maintain a lower profit margin,” stressed the leader of the Brazilian extreme right, who expressed his fear of rising inflation.

According to the president, subsidies Given by the government to the most disadvantaged population during the new coronavirus crisis, family spending increased, especially in the purchase of basic necessities.

“The emergency aid (subsidy) arrived, people began to spend a little more, a lot of paper in the street and inflation increases,” said the head of state.

The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Abras), for its part, denounced in a statement published on Thursday that it is under strong pressure from the general increase in prices, which are transferred by the industry and suppliers.

According to Abras, prices have increased due to increased exportsof both products and raw materials, as well as the decrease in imports as a consequence of the strong appreciation of the dollar against the Brazilian real.

“Added to this is the fiscal policy to encourage exports and the growth of domestic demand driven by emergency aid (subsidy) from the federal government,” highlighted Abras, who represents the 27 affiliated regional associations.

Abras pointed out that it “supports the economic system based on free initiative” and is contrary to “abusive price practices, which negatively impact the control of purchase volume, inflation, and generate negotiation and public order tensions” .

Brazil on Thursday exceeded four million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, which shows timid signs of giving way after causing more than 124,000 deaths in the country.

Since the first case registered on February 26 and the first death, on March 16, the balances reached 4,041,638 infections and 124,614 deaths, with an increase of 43,773 cases and 834 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The South American giant faced the pandemic without a coordinated strategy. President Bolsonaro sabotaged isolation measures imposed by the governors, considering that it was a remedy “worse than the disease” and that the country should “return to normality” so as not to harm the economy.

The president, who came to describe the covid-19 as “flu,” himself contracted the virus and continues to promote crowds on official trips and shake hands with supporters, without wearing a mask.

Source: EFE and AFP

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