"Santa Catarina is the new Singapore, Asian Tiger in Brazil", says Paulo Eli, Secretary of Treasure

INTERVIEW by Estela Benetti - NSC News

When it comes to job creation, Santa Catarina has been a national leader for years, with the lowest unemployment rate. This is the result of a dynamic and competitive economy. But Thursday, the 18th, when reading a column post about a new business support program from São Paulo government, Santa Catarina Secretary of Treasury, Paulo Eli, looked for the journalist and made some comparisons between the two economies. He said that, regarding employment, in 2020, SC was 'David', with more than 50 thousand jobs opened, surpassing 'Goliath' Sao Paulo. In general towards competitiveness, he said that SC is the “new Singapore”. See below: Why did you decide to compare Santa Catarina with São Paulo? In January alone, SC has created 32,077 formal jobs. Last year, our State opened more than 50 thousand new jobs (53,050), leading the Brazilian ranking. The giant ‘Goliath’, Sao Paulo, with 47 million inhabitants, was overtaken by ‘David’ SC, with 7 million inhabitants. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have invested almost R$ 1.5 billion in the State through Badesc, BRDE, the Zero Interest program and collateral fund. For Zero Interest we have released almost R$ 70 million since the arrival of the pandemic. We are also waiving taxes to help companies in need. The tourism and events sector demands help. Can the government do something specific for them? We are working on something for the events sector. There are issues with Celesc (Energy Distribution). We will work with credit lines from Badesc and BRDE with subsidized interest. We have already done the endorsement fund, but we need to find a highlight for this sector. For the cultural sector, on last Wednesday we published a law in the State Official Gazette to encourage the creative economy. Why is SC the new Singapore? We are good at logistics, infrastructure and attracting business, although we still have a lot to improve in infrastructure. The state is also outstanding in tourism ... Our tourism is excellent, but in the pandemic it has been suffocated. Can you imagine the generation of jobs that we would have if the tourism sector would be undergoing? What else do you highlight about SC differentials? Santa Catarina is the new Singapore, the new “Asian Tiger” in Brazil. We can make such comparison. We differentiate ourselves by having five ports. We are working on the privatization of the three public ports. We are going to privatize to attract more business to the State because the private port is much more competitive than the public. We are working to complete the duplication of highways BR-470 and BR-163 and in the West we are focusing the logistics improvements in Dionísio Cerqueira, where the customs border is located. We are a very competitive State. Does this reaction have to do with the political campaign? You know that the campaign for the 2022 State election has already begun (São Paulo Tourism Secretary, Vinicius Lummertz born here, is one of those nominated to be a candidate for the government by PSDB Party). If we did a cartoon comparing São Paulo and Santa Catarina at work, Santa Catarina would be ahead and behind it would be a sign indicating: follow me. The bureaucracy in São Paulo hinders business. Santa Catarina, skinny, goes at incredible speed, like a rocket. What led SC to have these competitive advantages in the economy? This is not just a merit of the current government. It is the merit of the work of the past 25 years, of several governments. It is a sum of efforts. Why do we fight for the conclusion of BR-470? It is that it interferes from the West, when the connection goes through BR-282, because it is through it that the cargoes arrive at the ports on the coast. To have an idea, while in the Port of Santos you have to wait two days to release a cargo, here it is released on the same day. We also need to take natural gas to the West. I am glad that our work in the Treasury Secretariat, in the last three years, is beginning to appear. What kind of companies are coming to the State? Many companies are coming to Santa Catarina. We can mention the expansion of agribusiness and a series of companies that are settling between the towns of Palhoça and Itapoá, on the margins of BR-101. You can see that every day. There are many new factories. One of the highlights in Joinville is the Perini Business Park. This is all done by the private sector. The strength of Santa Catarina is the private sector. What is the importance of the State's health status, of being free of cattle foot-and-mouth disease without vaccination? If we put a line in time, Santa Catarina's agribusiness boomed even in the world market with this international certification of foot-and-mouth disease without vaccination (conquered in 2007). What new measures for the economy are underway in this Administration? We will work hard on the credit issue and on the Crossing through Economic Development Project, prepared by Fiesc. We will pay attention to the productive arrangements in the area of ​​technology. For the digital goods sector, the State already has a law that avoids double taxation.