Obfuscation is the new transparency in Brazil. In fact, let’s be honest, there is no transparency in Brazil. At all. One only has to look at the notices local and federal government put up when they are carrying out work: “Licensed Work…The value of this work is R$2,899,845.06… Time to complete: 270 days.” Oh yes? 270 days from when? No information is available. And how is that estimate arrived at? No information. Who are the contractors, then? Where are the project costings? Where is the money coming from? Who? The whaa..? And note the 06 cents in the estimate – who’s looking after that, while we can’t even get any information on the R$2m? The whole thing is an hilarious joke practised continually on a public who have not the slightest notion of nor interest in accountability or transparency.
Time for this to change. It should not be difficult, if the politicians have any interest in doing it (which they clearly have not). On a local level, state income comes from federal grants and state taxes. It should be easy to calculate, monitor and report this. Expenditure similarly should be quite easy to monitor and report. Each project should be accounted for and reported on to the public. This does not happen. Accountants in Brazil do not understand the most basic of accounting concepts or calculations, and neither does the Inland Revenue. Meanwhile the politicians (all of them dishonest) have no desire to expose their incompetence and criminal behavior to the public.
But change it must, if the country is to find the money to fix all its dysfunctional systems and repair a decrepit infrastructure. Were the government to take a project, however small, cost it out, request the funds, tender the work, apply the money, then monitor and report on it without allowing themselves or anyone else to put their hand in the cookie jar, it would not only be a first, but would undoubtedly mark the beginning of a new and more viable Brazil.
Until then, all I can say is: 6 Reais to the Dollar…