The impact of the thawing of ICMS on fuels, announced by the governors this Friday (14th), should reach the consumer as early as next month, and the liter of gasoline at the pump could be R$ 0.027 more expensive in São Paulo, according to Sincopetro (Petroleum Derivatives Retail Trade Union). Last year, fuels were among the great villains of inflation. Ethanol was the item of the IPCA (the country’s official inflation) that accumulated the highest increase, 62.23%. Gasoline rose 47.49%; diesel oil, 46.04%.
By majority vote, the state secretaries of Comsefaz (National Committee of Secretaries of Finance of the States and the Federal District) decided to end, as of January 31, the freezing of the fuel tax, which has been in effect since the end of last year. .
“Petrobras’ pricing policy only serves to maintain and increase the oil company’s profits,” said the governor of Piauí, Wellington Dias (PT), who is coordinator of the National Forum of Governors, when announcing the States’ decision.
Rafael Korff Wagner, partner at Lippert Advogados and president of the IET (Instituto de Estudos Tributários), believes that international prices should continue to boost the collection of ICMS on fuel.
“We imagined that there would be a reduction in the value of fuel, due to the ICMS freeze adopted by the states, but the consumer did not feel this at the pump”, he said.
According to the president of Sincopetro, João Alberto Gouveia, the states are going in the opposite direction of what the consumer expected. “They were already earning a lot of money and now they’re going to thaw out again. Consumers can’t stand price increases anymore, a bigger load will create unemployment in the sector and drop in sales.”
If the states pass on all the defrosting at once, on February 1st, all distributors will be prepared to pass on to the gas stations, says Gouveia. “In the case of gasoline, the increase in ICMS in São Paulo can reach approximately R$ 0.027.”
At the end of October, governors froze ICMS for 90 days as a way of opposing a proposal that, at the time, had passed through the Chamber and was in the Senate, which would make the tax incidence fixed for one year. States even claimed that, if approved, it could lead to a loss of revenue of around R$ 24 billion.
Petrobras decided this week to raise fuel prices after 77 days without changes, which, in practice, made the company pay the price for the lag.
According to the governor of Piauí, the governors did their part, freezing the reference price for ICMS, but there was no appreciation of this concrete gesture or respect for the people. According to him, the answer was increase, increase and further increase in fuel prices.
“Thus, most states voted to maintain the ICMS rule until 01/31/22, considering the government’s closure to dialogue and successive fuel increases without concern for the economic and social impact of rising prices,” said the governor.
“Who is getting the benefit, the people? No, it’s only serving to increase Petrobras’ profits. Why the increase in fuels that were given? To maintain and increase Petrobras’ billions of profits! Where is the interest, the commitment? public?” he asked.
Dias also added that the heads of state executives presented a proposal that, in their opinion, would resolve the price and gas policy. According to him, the initiative – along with the discussion of tax reform, is stalled in Congress, “sleeping in a splendid cradle”.
Charged by successive increases in fuel prices, President Jair Bolsonaro has said that the blame for the high price of fuel is the levy of ICMS, a state tax — the federal government is the controlling shareholder of Petrobras.
Bolsonaro has already gone to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to try to force Congress to vote on a bill that seeks to change the way in which this tax is levied, but a lawsuit on the subject has not yet been judged by the court.