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A new bill speeds up measures to stimulate technological innovation

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) has given up the idea of sending to Congress, by means of a draft law, the new measures for encouraging innovation. On a suggestion from Ministers Antonio Palocci, of Finance, and Luiz Fernando Furlan, of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, the proposals were incorporated into Provisional Measure No. 252 – baptized as the PM for the Good –, published on June 15. The PM brings together actions with the objective of perfecting the tax legislation and encouraging investment in production, exports, agribusiness, digital inclusion and technological innovation.

According to Francelino Grando, the MCT’s Secretary for Technological Development and Innovation, the PM makes regulating the law more agile – the law will be published by means of a presidential decree – and allows obedience to the principle of annuality, since the incentives will come into force on January 1 of next year. “If the proposals reached Congress in the form of a draft law, they would only be approved at the end of the year and would have no repercussion in the budget for 2006”, he explains.

In chapter III of the PM, which deals with incentive for innovation, one of the highlights is article 21, which allows the Union, by means of the development agencies, to subsidize by up to 50% the pay of the researchers employed in activities of technological innovation in companies. The MCT’s estimate is that this stimulus will generate the inflow of a thousand masters and doctors into the private sector in 2006. “This instrument did not exist before in such a clear form, although there were programs for scholarships in companies”, comments Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP’s scientific director.

One of the “great absences” noted by Brito is the lack of an instrument supporting the small and medium business, a base that is fundamental in the development of business technology. He also regrets that the provisional measure does not deal with technological commissions, “an instrument widely used by countries with which we compete to stimulate the development of technologies in companies”.

Grando explains that the MCT’s intention when conceiving the measures that were to enter into the draft law was to adopt economic subsidies as the main mechanism for incentives. But the main instrument of the provisional measure is the multiple subsidy of Income Tax (IR) and the Social Contribution on Net Income (CSLL). As the small and medium businesses, in their majority, participate in the Simples – a simplified tax for declaring IR and CSLL, amongst others, created in 1995, with the objective of promoting a reduction in the tax burden –, they ended up actually not being benefited. “The decree with the regulations, though, is going to say that the focus of the subsidy is the micro and small businesses”, he reveals.