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Brazilian President Wants To Pump Oil Royalties Into Education

posted 5 May 2013, 15:01 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 May 2013, 15:02 ]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff urges lawmakers to pass bill that would invest all royalties from oil into education

RIO DE JANEIROBRAZIL  (REUTERS) -  Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff asked voters on Wednesday (May 1) to urge their elected representatives to approve her proposal to earmark all oil royalties collected by the state for public education.

Last year Rousseff made a similar proposal for allocating future oil royalties, which are expected to rise when Brazil taps huge subsalt fields off its Atlantic coast.

Brazil aims to double oil output and become one of the world's top four oil producers by 2020.

A presidential press spokesman said he did not know whether the new plan to tie oil royalties to education was different from the first proposal.

She made the announcement in a televised Labour Day speech in which she said improving education was vital for Brazil's development in a highly competitive world.

"It is important that the national Congress approves the proposal that puts the resources from petroleum into education. I ask that you urge your representative or senator to support this initiative," said Rousseff.

Despite Rousseff's personal entreaties, legislators suspended discussion of the education plan last week after it got caught up in a dispute between Brazil's states over how to share the country's oil wealth.

Major oil-producing states Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santos, and Sao Paulo are staunchly opposed to sharing too much of the oil royalties with non-producing states.

These three states are also by far the most economically developed in Brazil.

Last year, a study done by the Economist Intelligence Unit and published by Pearson, ranked Brazil second to last in education on a list of 40 of the most developed countries in the world, ranking just above last place Indonesia.