12 Jul 2013 11:19

BRASILIA, July 11 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday announced a spending increase of 3 billion Brazilian reals (US$1.3 billion) for cities to bolster healthcare and education, two public services that were the cause of massive protests last month.

She made the announcement during the 16th Rally for Municipality Defence in Brasilia, where 4,000 prefects (local authorities) from around the country took part.

The increase will be doled out in two parts, the first in August and the second in April 2014, and is earmarked to pay for doctors and teachers and other expenses in local healthcare and education services.

The measure is one of the several the government is taking in response to the wave of protests that rocked Brazil in the past few weeks, where more than a million Brazilians demanded better public services and an end to corruption.

Rousseff also announced an increase in the so-called Basic Healthcare Floor that brings the yearly total spent on the programme to 600 million reals (US$265 million).

The government will additionally invest 3.2 billion reals (some US$1.3 billion) to build 2,000 daycare centres.

This is in addition to plans to increase investment in various sectors including healthcare announced by the president on Monday.

On Monday, Rousseff said the government is investing 7.4 billion Brazilian reals (some US$3.3 billion) to build new hospitals, as well as changing and buying new equipment, and next year, it would invest another 5.5 billion reals (some US$2.4 billion) for new health units.

However, local authorities at the gathering complained that the government has failed to respond to their call for a 2.5 per cent readjustment in the Municipalities Participation Fund (FPM).