Brazil

New FinMin is Joaquim Levy


Published

Following her election for a second term as President on 26th October, President Dilma Rousseff has been under intense pressure to appoint a new finance team to steer the country out of recession and also to entice back investors who have deserted the country.

Yesterday the President named her new team. The key member is Joaquim Levy, a 53 year old economist who helped to cut Brazil’s debt and pay back the IMF whilst he was Treasury Secretary between 2003 and 2006. He has been appointed as the new Minister of Finance.

Nelson Barbosa (45) is to be the new Minister of Planning. He is currently Professor at the São Paulo School of Economics (Getúlio Vargas Foundation) and the Institute of Economics (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and has a Ph.D. in Economics.

The third member of the team named yesterday is Alexandre Tombini. He is the incumbent President of the Central Bank and his re-appointment was confirmed yesterday.

The full announcement as published on the government website and with brief biographical information on the two new Ministers is as follows:

“Rousseff announces three members of new economic staff

President Dilma Rousseff nominated on Thursday (Nov 27) the three main members of the economic staff for her second tenure. Joaquim Levy, former secretary of the National Treasury, will be the new finance minister. The head of the Ministry of Planning will be Nelson Barbosa, former executive secretary of the Ministry of Finance. Alexandre Tombini is to keep his position as the president of the Central Bank. These are the first appointments for the Cabinet of President Dilma Rousseff, whose second inauguration is slated for January 1.

In her official announcement, Rousseff expressed her gratitude towards current Finance Minister Guido Mantega and Planning Minister Miriam Belchior. “In his 12 years of government, Mantega had a key role in facing the international economic crisis, prioritizing the creation of jobs and the improvement of the income of the population,” Rousseff said, adding that Miriam Belchior proved a competent leader by “heading the progress of the works in the PAC [Accelerated Growth Program] and the management of the federal budget.”

Joaquim Levy’s experience encompasses both the financial market and the public sector.

Holding a PhD from the University of Chicago, one of the main centers for the financial market’s most active economists, the future finance minister has been the superintendent director of Bradesco Asset Management, Bradesco’s branch for investment funds. He has also been the secretary of the National Treasury during the government of then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, under then Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, from 2003 to 2006.

During the administration of ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, he was deputy secretary at the Secretariat of Economic Policy of the Finance Ministry in 2000. Next year, he was appointed chief economist at the Ministry of Planning, and was kept in the economic staff after the government transition from Fernando Henrique and Lula da Silva.

Barbosa, in turn, was a member of the economic staff of the government during both of Lula da Silva’s tenures.

He is a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and holds a PhD in economics from New School for Social Research, in the United States.

In 2003, he was a member of Guido Mantega’s team at the Ministry of Planning. From 2004 to 2006, he worked at the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), also alongside Mantega. In the Ministry of Finance, Barbosa headed the Secretariat of Economic Monitoring in 2007 and 2008, and the Secretariat of Economic Policy from 2008 to 2010. As executive secretary in the ministry under Rousseff, he conducted studies on tax alleviation measures aimed at boosting the economy, and designed a small tax reform in an attempt to gradually put an end to the tax war between states. He also took part in the creation of top-priority government initiatives, like the aforementioned PAC and the My House My Life Program.”

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