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Política Nacional / 22/07/2021


Funai executes less than 1% of the resources to combat covid-19 among indigenous peoples

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Funai executes less than 1% of the resources to combat covid-19 among indigenous peoples

Only BRL 383.5 thousand of the total BRL 41.048 million made available were used

Indigenous peoples, one of the weakest links in the fight against covid-19, face an additional challenge this year in the pandemic: the slow pace of federal investments in measures to combat the virus. The first half of 2021 was marked by the poor execution of public resources reserved for this purpose.

Official government data show that, between January 1st and June 3rd, the government made available, in amounts adjusted for inflation, a total of R$ 41.048 million for the National Indian Foundation (Funai) to apply in actions to “Combat the Public Health Emergency of International Importance Due to Coronavirus”. In the first half, however, only R$383.5 thousand of this amount were committed, that is, reserved to fund contracts signed in this area. This amounts to less than 1% of the total. Another R$753.5 thousand were used, but to pay bills made in the previous year, the so-called “remains to be paid”.

This money is “stamped”, that is, specifically destined to fund measures against the proliferation of the coronavirus among native peoples, a protection that, by mission, is incumbent upon Funai to execute. The slowness of these actions is more evident when compared to the pace of financial executions that took place in the first half of last year. Between January and June 2020, when Funai had BRL 19.7 million – also in corrected amounts – to fund these measures, it had already committed BRL 13.7 million to payments for health services and items, 70% of the total available.

The information obtained by the report is part of the Siga Brasil system, of the federal government, and was compiled by the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (Inesc), specialized in the analysis of public accounts.

Actions for measures to protect indigenous peoples may have slowed down in the first half of the year, but the disease continues unabated. The Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB), one of the main indigenous organizations in the country, has monitored the progress of the disease among peoples originating in villages and urban areas, with support the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The data, which include information the Indigenous Health Secretariat (Sesai), an agency linked to the Ministry of Health, show that, until this Tuesday, 20, 1,136 indigenous deaths have been confirmed by covid. It is more than double what had been registered until July 2020, when 522 deaths had been registered. The number of infected currently reaches 57,086 people.

“All this slowness in financial execution only demonstrates one more facet of how the government deals with indigenous peoples. This is the result of this fraying that we witnessed at Funai, which still has to deal with the shortage of personnel and the inability to perform its work in a minimally satisfactory manner”, says Leila Saraiva, political advisor at Inesc. "There is an institutional blackout, with ideological persecution within the foundation itself and the immobilization of the agency's actions."

The proliferation of covid-19 among indigenous peoples and the government's lethargy in budget execution will be one of the agendas of Covid's Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI), after the end of the parliamentary recess. “We are going to investigate, to find out the reason for this lower expense. We know that there was vaccination in the State of Amazonas, but we have to understand what is happening throughout the country”, the president of the CPI, senator Omar Aziz (PSD-AM) told Estadão.

Asked about its budget execution, Funai declared, through a note, that the amount of its budget for "Fighting the Public Health Emergency of International Importance Due to Coronavirus" - approved through the Provisional Measure on June 8, 2021 – is “intended for actions that are in progress” in the agency.

“It should be clarified that, of the amount approved, R$ 15.8 million were allocated to hiring a workforce to work in territorial protection actions. Funai also informs that it has made every effort to ensure that the contract is concluded as quickly as possible, which will result in the execution of resources”, declared the foundation.

Funai also stated that “there was approval of an extraordinary credit in the amount of R$ 25.1 million to be used in the delivery of basic baskets acquired by the Ministry of Citizenship, and the foundation depends on the acquisition of baskets by the ministry to execute the resources with the logistics of delivery of the baskets”.

According to its balance sheet, Funai stated that it has already earmarked approximately R$ 48.5 million for actions to prevent covid-19, “with emphasis on support for sanitary barriers and delivery of more than 800,000 basic food baskets to indigenous people all over the country since the beginning of the pandemic”.

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