After the São Paulo government tried to approve a budget adjustment, overrule the FAPESP (Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo) budget, and in late 2020 made a proposal to make the resources an investment by decrees on Thursday (27) from R $ 580 million to the most important funding agency for scientific research in the state.
Since 1989, Article 271 of the state constitution has stipulated that FAPESP and the three state universities (USP, Unicamp and Unesp) receive 1% of the state’s tax revenue.
However, in 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the São Paulo government attempted to approve a budget adjustment through two bills, PL 529, which was repealed and PL 627, the 17th Legislative Assembly. According to the law, the abolition of tax receipts provided for in constitutional amendment 93/2016 would lead to a reduction in tax receipts from 1% to 0.7%, which corresponds to a reduction of R $ 454.7 million for FAPESP.
The government told the foundation that the funds would be guaranteed by decrees that Doria would sign to redistribute the money later in the year, leaving scientists and FAPESP directors dissatisfied.
Following criticism, Decree No. 65.438 of December 30, 2020, published in the Official Gazette of the State of São Paulo, completely reorganized the budget for FAPESP and the three state universities of São Paulo for 2021.
The announcement of the new investment was made by Governor João Doria (PSDB) at an event in the Palácio dos Bandeirantes, surrounded by many direct and indirect criticisms of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party), his political rival.
“São Paulo doesn’t work for São Paulo, São Paulo works for Brazil. And the fact is that the largest investment in science in the country is made in São Paulo today. And if it weren’t for São Paulo, we wouldn’t have any science investments in Brazil, ”he said.
In addition to Doria, the Secretaries for Health, Social Development, Infrastructure and Environment, Agriculture and Supply, the President of FAPESP, Marco Antonio Zago, and Senator Izalci Lucas (PSDB-DF), member of the Science and Technology Committee of the Federal Senate.
All guests were subjected to an antigen test prior to the event to determine whether they were infected with the coronavirus and were only allowed to enter if the result was negative.
Of the BRL 580 million, BRL 120 million will be allocated to the Science for Development Communication, also announced this afternoon. The planned duration is five years and includes more than ten research areas such as health, environment and sustainability, energy, agriculture, cities and public safety.
Projects can be carried out at universities, research institutes or authorities. In the health sector, a return is expected during the pandemic so that the results can be used in the fight against Covid-19.
Before this investment, FAPESP had already invested around R $ 100 million in the development of ventilators for hospitals and R $ 30 million in clinical studies with vaccines.
The governor stressed the importance of the investment during the pandemic and criticized Bolsonaro’s stance on cutting funding for scientific research.
“Unfortunately this is a government that despises science. The Bolsonaro government despises not only life, but also science, innovation, technology and investment in research. “
At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, an ordinance by the MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication) and MEC (Ministry of Education) excluded human sciences from the CNPq (National Council for Scientific.) Research priorities and development) technology ) until 2023.
A survey conducted by the CNPq in January of this year found that the Bolsonaro government reduced the quota for imports of equipment and supplies for scientific research from $ 300 million to $ 93.29 million in 2021, which one A reduction of 68.9%. The decrease affected the work of Fiocruz (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) and the Butantan Institute.
In the presence of dozens of researchers, university rectors and educators, the governor thanked the scientists who are dedicated to science and who bring scientific advances to the country.
“These will be Brazil’s resilient, resilient, who say no to authoritarianism, no to denial, no to indifference, not to lack of compassion, which unfortunately we have in the Brazilian leadership today.”
The statement by Dimas Covas, Director of the Butantane Institute, at Covids CPI this Thursday was also quoted. He stated that Bolsonaro’s speeches resulted in a three-month hiatus in the coronavac buying process and that 100 million doses could have been delivered by May of this year had the negotiations not been interrupted.
According to Covas, the comments made by Bolsonaro and his sons critical of China have also had an impact on the production of the immunization agent, as the inputs for the manufacture of vaccines in Brazil are imported from there.