Unlocking $ 5 billion from the National Science Fund has sparked government controversy

Photo: Raphael Henrique / Sopa Images / Light Rocket by Getty Images

In the midst of an already tight budget for 2021, the Ministry of Finance, ME (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and members of the Management Council of the National Science and Technology Fund (FNDCT) are arguing that the FNDC’s decision can no longer be prevented by the federal government.

Documents transferred between two folders, to CNN Show the guidance of the Ministry of Finance through the Supplementary Bill to release $ 5.048 billion. The amount was withheld from the approval of the budget in the Legislature.

With President Vito subverting a bill restricting FNDC resources, the government is looking for a way to allow the release of money that was not initially planned to be spent.

“The appeal of the fund is decided by the council, not the government. Paulo Guard did not understand it yet. The budget of the fund has nothing to do with the budget of the ministry. They want to include something that has already been done, something like that from the council, ”said Senator Issalci Lucas, author of the bill, which barred the government from withholding funds.

Although the FNDC Board of Directors, chaired by MCTI Minister Marcos Pontes, has decided to implement the resources, the body has yet to hold a meeting in 2021. For a source engaged in discussions about the destination, the government seeks to avoid spending limits on this amount, as credit is not included in the financial rules.

“At the same time it makes money useless and the problem is that it does not reach the companies. The money from the fund is stamped with a special use, ”he points out. In the letter of the Ministry of Finance sent to MCTI, the allocation of funds should be as follows:

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– $ 415.0 million for credit related to the performance of clinical trials of vaccines through the Supplementary PL;
– $ 305.0 million used to meet the remainder of the credit requested for the performance of clinical vaccine tests by ordinance of the Special Secretary;
– 1,888.2 million riyals will be allocated for reimbursable expenses set aside for companies’ technical development projects, as a loan to Finep through Supplementary PL;
– 2,440.4 million riyals will be allocated for FNDC’s programming and will be serviced throughout the year through a supplementary and / or special bill as indicated by the agency.

Two of these indications have already been approved by President Jair Bolsonaro this Friday (11): $ 415 million for funding clinical trials of the national vaccine against Kovid-19, and another $ 1.9 billion in phases 1 to 3 to finance companies’ technical development projects through FNDDCT.

However, businessmen and FNDC council members hoped that the fund would be released through the bill “without a stamp”. “If it takes too long, there is no time to do anything. We are waiting for another PLN without a stamp and there is a promise that it will be handed over, ”said Senator Isalsi.

Vaccine Resource

With the release of $ 415 million, MCTI will be able to recoup resources from studies to develop a national vaccine against Kovid-19. However, $ 305 million is still missing from the total amount initially withheld.

The redesign of both values ​​had already been requested in a technical note issued in April by the MCTI’s Research and Science Training Secretariat, arguing that the abolition of funding measures for progressive national R&D initiatives should be avoided. The document also strengthens the importance of FNDC to help the country move forward in developing national vaccines against Kovid-19.

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The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) announced on 03/26/2021 that the researchers, funded by federal government funds, had submitted a request to the National Agency for Sanitary Monitoring on 03/25/2021. (Unvisa) will test for a vaccine against Kovid-19 called Versamun-Kovi-2F MCTI. This is one of the projects that can benefit from the resources required here, ”he says.

When asked about the dispute over resource targeting, the article did not respond to the differences between the portfolios and the criticisms of the project’s author, Senator Isalsi Lucas, even to the advisory services of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

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