Underground economy should stop falling in 2012


With economic growth forecasting between 3 and 3,5%, which, together with the possible impacts of the European crisis, should reduce the warming of the labor market and restrict the pace of credit expansion, 2012 points to a stagnation in the reduction in the underground economy observed in 2011.

Last year, Brazil maintained a strong economy and a scenario that encouraged the formalization of employment in the face of the need for access to credit. More credit means more money in the formal economy. For Fernando de Holanda Barbosa Filho, a researcher at Ibre / FGV and responsible for preparing the Underground Economy Index, this scenario favored the fall observed in 2011.

In his analysis, based on the results of the Underground Economy Index released in December 2011 (which fell to 17,2% of GDP, compared to 21% in 2003), he reaffirmed that the need for access to credit remained the main motivator formalization of employment by employees. “For employers, in addition to access to credit, another factor of influence was the improvement in the level of activity in the country,” says Barbosa Filho.

The forecasts for 2012, however, point to a much more conservative scenario. For former Finance Minister Marcílio Marques Moreira, president of the ETCO Advisory Council, the Brazilian GDP growth should be 3,5% this year. "There is a risk of a worsening in the world panorama, especially if one or more countries in Europe go into trouble," he points out.

For Barbosa Filho, “2012 must be a year of stagnation in the reduction of the underground economy, as we must have a period with more stable economic growth and a more stable job and credit market, which should imply a reduction in the growth of the formalization of our economy. ”. He points out as the main factors the restriction of the pace of credit expansion - as a result of the European crisis -, and the reduction of the warming of the labor market, with unemployment in the historical minimum, since, for him, despite the measures adopted by the government, the growth of the economy should be, at best, around 3%. "Productivity is growing very little in our economy," he says.

Marcílio Marques Moreira points out that, in addition to the lack of productivity, there is also the low competitiveness and innovation of the industry, in addition to the absence of a more open orientation to research and development programs. "It is up to the government, the industry and also society itself to change this situation", he evaluates.

ETCO chief executive Roberto Abdenur agrees with the former minister. For him, the institutional modernization of Brazil is the cornerstone for the country to structure itself in order to reach the standards of the First World, in which the Underground Economy Index does not exceed 10% of GDP. "It is the duty of public authorities, authorities and the whole of society to keep a critical and constant eye on this issue", concludes Abdenur.