quinta-feira, 1 de janeiro de 2009

People of low income are still restricted from access to the programme Minha Casa, Minha Vida

Approximately 167 thousand families with incomes of up to three minimum wages (R$ 1.4 thousand) have registered themselves, in Belo Horizonte, for the programme Minha Casa, Minha Vida, of the federal government. The delivery of the forms for participating in the programme, that seeks to build houses with subsidised instalments – for this income range –, is bound to end on Friday in the City Hall’s regional offices and through the internet (the closing time for this modality being 20h). Those who are interested, however, should expect complications. No civil construction company has presented any housing projects to Caixa Econômica Federal, under the allegation that the prices are not competitive. In order to maintain the dream of having a house, there are already people resulting to prayer, as the watchman José Paulo Pereira. “I have been praying a lot. My salary is just to pay the telephone, water and electricity bills, and rent”, he says.

“The programme faces these problems in Belo Horizonte for it has not received any construction projects. We need the help of the City Hall”, says Marivaldo Araújo Ribeiro, regional manager of Habitação da Caixa (Caixa Econômica Federal’s housing department). The Municipal Housing Secretariat says that the City Hall analyses the tax exemptions for the companies that are interested in building houses for low income populations.

The president of Câmara Brasileira da Indústria da Construção (CBIC), Paulo Safady Simão, was in a meeting earlier this week with the governor Aécio Neves, and asked for an exemption of the tax Imposto sobre Circulação de Mercadorias e Prestação de Serviços (ICMS) for building houses for low income families. According to Simão, the exemption would represent a discount of approximately R$ 2.5 thousand for each house.

In Belo Horizonte, the value that was authorised by the government for the construction of low income apartments is of up to R$ 46 thousand. The civil construction companies want this value to approach those of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, respectively R$ 51 thousand and R$ 52 thousand. “It is a large difference, if one takes into account the fact that the construction costs in Rio are almost the same as here”, remarks André de Sousa Lima Campos, director of the housing projects of the Civil Construction Union of Minas Gerais (Sinduscon-MG). The request of the construction companies reached the Ministry of Cities, but as of yet has not gone any further.