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Incentive for innovation

Minister Eduardo Campos foresees greater investment in 2005

The Ministry of  Science and Technology (MCT) intends to send to the National Congress – probably in the third week of February, when the recess of the Legislative branch ends – the bill on tax incentives to stimulate investments in innovation in Brazil. “We are gathering input from several entities and negotiating with the Ministries of  Finance and of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade”, disclosed Minister Eduardo Campos. He believes that, like what happened in the course of the voting on the Law on Innovation, Congress will be “a great partner” and should “improve” the proposal presented by the Executive branch.  “Before this, the Law on Innovation, promulgated by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on December 2, will be regulated by decree”, he stated.

The minister believes that 2005 will be a “good year” for science and technology in the country. The budgetary proposal for the MCT, forwarded by the government for the approval of Congress, was 20% higher than in 2004.  Besides this,  the amendments presented by parliamentarians and the commissions in the course of the voting of the budget, at the end of last year, if approved, would add another R$ 3 billion to the resources provided for by the Executive. “The budget for science and technology should be improved and will receive an important contribution from the Brazilian parliament, which did not use to happen before”, the minister believed, before the voting of the proposal. These favorable modifications, he analyzed, were a result of the linkage of research institutes, foundations, state secretariats for science and technology and of the MCT itself. “We have managed to call the attention of the parliamentarians to this kind of investment.”

Another item of good news, he disclosed,  is that seven of the 15 sectorial funds will not suffer from any kind of contingency restraint next year:  the funds for Biotechnology, Amazonia, Space, Water, Information Technology, Minerals and Transports. “We have managed to make the volume of resources released grow 19.9%, and the amounts under constraint increased only 6%”, the minister reckoned.

The sectorial funds were created in 1999 to finance research and innovation projects in the country.  They are made up of contributions levied on the sales of companies from the various sectors involved and by means arising from fees for the exploitation of natural resources belonging to the Union. In 2005, they should bring some R$ 720 million into the market for research. Another R$ 729 million, according to the budgetary proposal,  should remain under restraint, by a decision of the Ministry of Finance.

Conrado Wessel Award – Campos took part in the launch ceremony of  the 2004 edition of the Conrado Wessel Award for Science and Culture, on December 14, at FAPESP. “Other entrepreneurs have to be encouraged to take initiatives like this one”, said the minister. The award was created in 2002, with the objective of encouraging activities related to art, science and culture. The winners in each category receive a prize worth R$ 100,000. At the event, the minister signed with FAPESP a protocol of  intent for the creation of  the Our Daily Science program, which provides for the use of scientific publicity material produced by the Pesquisa FAPESP magazine in secondary schooling and in the ongoing training of teachers in the area of nature sciences and their technologies.