Ground-breaking oil bill gets backing from Brazil Congress

A landmark oil bill that designates all royalties from newly discovered oil fields to education and healthcare has been approved by Brazil’s Congress. The bill was passed by the Brazilian lower house on Wednesday; it had already been approved by the Senate. Once signed by the president, the bill will come into effect next year.

The move to channel oil money to public services is one of several reform proposed by Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, as a response to the widespread protests and riots June. The demonstrations, which were held across Brazil, were sparked by a rise in transport costs, though they quickly encompassed other issues, including the cost of staging the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and corruption in the higher echelons of Brazilian politics and industry. The protests often ended in fighting between police and protestors.

According to the BBC, the unrest prompted President Rousseff to present a package of investment and reforms in public services. The bill states that 75 percent of drilling royalties that the Brazilian government receives from oilfields in the “pre-salt” layer will be invested in education. The other 25 percent will be invested in health.

Although the bill is an admirable effort to make a true difference to under-privileged Brazilians, it had not done enough to satisfy everyone. Several demonstrations took place in Brazilian cities on Wednesday, including in Rio de Janeiro and in San Paulo. In Rio, about 200 protesters tried to reach Governor Sergio Cabral’s Guanabara Palace, demanding his impeachment and political reform. The area was blocked off by police and officers used tear gas and rubber bullets after protesters tried to break through their lines, the BBC reported.

Last weekend, tens of thousands of workers across Brazil joined a day of strikes called by trade unions. They ended in clashes between police and protesters.


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