Measure was announced last week by the Ministry of Finance with the aim of raising more than R$ 6 billion for the government’s cash
Experts are divided on the decision of the federal government to tax exports of Petroleum by just over 9% for 4 months. According to Ministry of Finance, the goal is to raise more than R$ 6 billion. The measure was taken together with the reencumbrance of taxes on gasoline and ethanol, R$0.46 for the first and R$0.02 for the second, per liter. According to Edmar de Almeida, a professor at PUC in Rio de Janeiro, the measure could set a dangerous precedent. In his assessment, other sectors may be concerned with the possibility of being surcharged in the near future. In addition, for him, as the measure was implemented through a provisional measure, many congressmen may be uncomfortable with not having been consulted on the taxation of exports, which, according to him, may disrupt the government’s great plans for the year. 2023, including the approval of the Tax Reform. “When we suddenly create a tax, without broad discussion by society, it creates economic insecurity that will certainly have consequences, not only for the oil sector, but for the rest of the economy. This represented a setback, and the additional revenue that this tax will create for the government is not worth it for the negative impact it will have on the oil sector and on the image of the government and the Brazilian tax authorities, which convey uncertainty to the productive sector. of the country,” he says.
Economist Aurélio Valforto, from the Brazilian Association of Investors (Abradin), has a completely different opinion. He thinks that export taxation is important for what he called price regulation, trying to ease domestic fuel prices, which are at very high levels, in his assessment. The economist even said that, over the last few years, the Petrobras achieved exorbitant profits through the international parity price (PPI) policy, thanks to the sacrifice of the Brazilian population. Although he believes that investments may be relatively harmed by taxation of oil exports, Valporto points out that Brazilian oil production is heavily based on pre-salt, an extraction considered cheap and extremely profitable. “The export tax is a way of regulating Petrobras’ internal prices without having to change its pricing policy. The first thing that has to be clear is that this tax should not have collection purposes, but regulatory purposes, with the purpose of regulating domestic supply and prices. With it, Petrobras will be forced to offer Brazilian refineries at prices below those practiced by OPEC. However, if this export tax affects only crude oil, and not refined products, refineries will be able to practice international prices, transferring to them part of the abusive margin. The aim is for oil to reach refineries cheaper. But will they lower the prices of refined products?”, he asks.
In the National Congress, the debate around this taxation of oil exports, announced last week by the Ministry of Finance, is increasingly heated. The Brazilian Institute of Petroleum said it viewed the measure with concern, as the oil and gas sector expected to invest more than US$ 180 billion in Brazil over the next decade. FGV Energia also expressed dissatisfaction with the measure and recalled that, annually, the oil and gas sector already pays more than R$ 150 billion in taxes to the Union.
*With information from reporter Rodrigo Viga