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BNDES to quintuple 2019 Treasury repayment, finance ministry says

Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social has been formally asked to repay 126 billion Brazilian reais to the National Treasury in 2019, nearly 5x the 26 billion reais repayment previously envisaged, O Estado de S. Paulo reported, citing a special secretary of the Finance Ministry.

Waldery Rodrigues Júnior said the state-run development bank would be able to meet the new requirement nearly quintupling the amount of its debt repayments, but that the government would also continue to monitor its liquidity and solvency.

The move comes as part of a push by President Jair Bolsonaro's government to adjust BNDES' participation in the market, as it wants to free up credit channels with more private sector participation, the official told the newspaper.

Rodrigues Júnior said previous governments had granted "extremely expensive" subsidies to the development bank which had to be returned to state coffers.

"This discussion takes place as we are trying to reduce controlled credit and increase private credit. The resources that BNDES received in previous governments harmed the functionality of the bank," the special secretary, who works under Finance Minister Paulo Guedes, told the publication.

Guedes is overseeing a divestment plan for state-run banks in the country as part of a broader effort to scale down those institutions' businesses, which Bolsonaro's government believes have drifted well beyond their original intention and have distorted credit markets.

BNDES recently announced that it would step back on infrastructure funding and reorganize its equity ownership in state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

As of March 19, US$1 was equivalent to 3.77 Brazilian reais.