Rapporteur wants to amend ICMS on fuels and double scope of gas allowance

Senator Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN), rapporteur for PLP 11/2020, wants to extend gas aid to 11 million families | Photo: Roque de Sá/Agência Senado

Senator Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN), rapporteur of two bills aimed at reducing the price of fuel, presented this Tuesday (15) a substitute in which he proposes the monophasy of the ICMS, that is to say the impact of the tax once, on gasoline, diesel and biodiesel. The document also plans to expand the reach of the gas allowance to double the number of families currently served.

The vote on the proposal in the Senate is scheduled for this Wednesday (16), but party leaders are studying to ask for its postponement. The text did not include a provision authorizing derogations on fuels, as some wings were defending.

The proposals consist of a replacement for Supplementary Bill (PLP) 11/2020, approved in the House last year and which provided for changes to the ICMS rules on fuels. The version that reached the Senate provides, in general terms, for the state tax to be levied at a fixed amount, in reais per liter (so-called “ad rem”), and based on the average value of gasoline and diesel in the country. last two years.

The proposal resents state governments, which would have billions in lost revenue. Today, the tax is levied as a percentage (“ad valorem”), which is defined in each state, and on a quotation of the previous 15 days, the so-called weighted average price to the final consumer (PMPF).

Prates found that imposing the new rules was unconstitutional, which he said would undermine the autonomy of the states and the Federal District to regulate ICMS. “While well-intentioned, the proposed solution has flaws of unconstitutionality, in our view, insurmountable,” he wrote in the justification for his opinion.

The senator then proposed that the form of collection (whether by unit of measure or “ad valorem”) be at the discretion of the federative units and that the rates could be reduced and restored during the same fiscal year. However, in addition to being single-phase, the ICMS would be uniform throughout the national territory, defined by the state governments within the framework of the National Financial Policy Council (Confaz), and could be differentiated by product.

He said he understood that single-phase “is the most adequate system to bring transparency, predictability and stability to the ICMS levied on fuels, avoiding cascading readjustments”.

“The measure has the sympathy of governors, as it has certain factors that reduce resistance to its implementation,” he says. The ICMS is today the main source of collection for the states and today its rate varies from 23% to 34% on the price of gasoline, and from 12% to 25% on diesel, depending on the federative unit.

In addition to the changes to the House text, Prates added in his substitute the expansion of the gasoline allowance, which covers 50% of the average price of a 13-kilogram bottle every two months for around 5.5 million families. The senator proposes extending the scope of the benefit to 11 million families.

To cover the additional expenditure of BRL 1.9 billion that the measure would generate, he proposes to use the funds raised with the signature bonuses of the pre-salt oil fields of Sepia and Atapu, auctioned last December . “Excluding the amounts intended for sub-national entities, [os bônus] amount to 3.4 billion reais. In addition, the project provides for the possibility of using other sources,” explains the parliamentarian.

The changes promoted in the text by the senator would have displeased the government’s economic team. According to the newspaper Valor Econômico, the main criticism is directed against the expansion of the gasoline allowance. According to a source heard by the publication, there is no room in the Budget to accommodate this additional expense. Regarding fuel taxation, the assessment of the Ministry of the Economy is that there is practically no change compared to the current situation.

PSDB leader in the Senate, Izalci Lucas (DF), told O Estado de S. Paulo that he will ask for the discussion to be postponed and for a public hearing to be called on the subject. “We are ready to vote, but the issue is very complex,” he said.

“Yes, there is a possibility. [de adiamento], there is always that possibility,” Prates said at a press conference on Tuesday (15). “But, in principle, there has been no great resistance, nothing that divides the senators, or that puts the senator in a position of opposition to what was proposed,” he said.

He defends the haste of the vote, because, by making modifications to the previous text, the project will still have to come back to the hemicycle.

In addition to ICMS, a change in Petrobras’ pricing policy is also on the agenda

In addition to PLP 11/2020, the Senate has scheduled this Wednesday (16) the vote on PL 1,472/2020, also reported by Prates. Written by Senator Rogério Carvalho (PT-SE), the project proposes to change the policy adopted since 2016 by Petrobras, known by the acronym PPI – Import Parity Price. With the PPI, the public company uses as a reference for the readjustments of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas the price of a barrel of oil on the international market, in addition to the costs of importers, such as transport costs and shipping.

According to the proposal, the domestic prices charged by fuel producers and importers would have as a reference, in addition to the international market price and the import expenses, also the domestic production costs – which, de-indexed to the exchange rate, would entail prices down. The text was approved by the Economic Affairs Committee (CAE) of the Senate in December.

The PL also establishes the creation of a “price band” system, which would limit the transfer of volatility from the international market to domestic consumers. In addition, the project provides for the creation of a fuel price stabilization fund, which would be financed, among other sources, by a new tax which would be levied on the export of crude oil. Dividends owed by Petrobras to the Union would also enter the account.

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