SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras announced late on Wednesday it will provide 300 million reais ($56.23 million) to a 15-month social program that aims to help low-income families to buy cooking gas.
The move comes as Brazil faces a rising inflation boosted by high energy and food prices, which has been affecting President Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity prior to next year’s presidential election.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, said in a securities filing that details of the program are still under evaluation, including which families should receive the benefit and a search for potential partners.
Petrobras CEO Joaquim Silva e Luna said it reinforces the company’s “social role” amid the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is seen by the state-run firm as an “exceptional and emergency situation”.
Luna had said in a press conference earlier this week that the company does not intend to change its fuel pricing policies. Two people close to the company told Reuters, however, that he was in Brasilia during the weekend to discuss with government officials potential measures to cushion the blow of rising prices.
(Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; editing by David Evans)
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