Modernized management

Regulation of the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FNDCT) will strengthen work of Science and Technology

The original mission of the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FNDCT) will be reestablished: it will go back to having an accounting nature and will be made up of budgetary resources and tax incentives, amongst others. The novelty is that the FNDCT will also have revenues from the sectorial funds for financing integrating actions, regardless of the origin of the resources. “We are perfecting the form of management of the funds”, explained Sergio Rezende, the Minister of Science and Technology, in a visit to FAPESP, on September 26. The new model will start to count as soon as the Senate approves the draft law that regulates the FNDCT, already approved by the Chamber.

The FNDCT was created in 1969, extinguished by the 1988 Constitution, and reestablished in 1991. In the 1990’s, with the fiscal crisis, the FNDCT practically disappeared and, in 1999, started to house the 15 sectorial funds made up with revenues from contributions levied on the exploitation of natural resources belonging to the Union and portions of the Excise Tax from productive sectors, amongst others.

Since last year, the revenues of the funds started to be used to support strategic programs of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), known as transversal actions, relating to industrial, technological and foreign trade policies. The projects of the petroleum area, for example, are supported with resources from the CT-Petroleum: those in biotechnology, with funds from the CT-Biotech; and so on. The areas of research and development without a connection with sectorial funds are financed with resources of the CT-Green-Yellow, which integrates universities and companies. “But we needed to take a step forward”, the minister claimed. To do so, the law that regulates the FNDCT lays down that the resources intended by the management committees of the various funds for transversal actions do not have to have a connection with the source of revenue.

The regulating law also expands the destination of the resources from the FNDCT: they may support science, technology and innovation programs and projects, transfer of technology to companies, and even the development of new technologies for products and the qualification of human resources. They will be used, for example, to support business innovation. “This could not be done before the approval of the Law on Innovation”, the minister recalled. The FNDCT is also going to subsidize 50% of the expenses of companies with the contracting of researchers with a master’s or doctor’s degree, authorized by Provisional Measure 252, known as the PM of the Good.

The budgetary programming of the FNDCT provides for the gradual release of the revenues of the sectorial funds currently held back on account of the requirements for a primary surplus. In 2006, the expectation is to be able to count on 70% of the revenues of the funds; in 2007, 80% and so on, until in 2009 there is no more limitation of endeavor.

For next year, though, this expectation has already been frustrated: very well that Congress, in the Law on Budgetary Guidelines (LDO), provided for the release of only 60% of the revenue for the FNDCT’s budget. “But President Lula had to veto everything, because this percentage was valid for other revenues”, said the minister, who is negotiating with the Minister of Planning the reestablishment of this percentage in the next year’s budget. “If everything works out, this is going to represent an increase in the FNDCT’s resources from R$ 850 million to R$ 1.350 billion”, the minister calculated.