Brazil gets fifth sci-tech minister in four years

Celso Pansera gets appointed as part of a ministerial reform; industry associations voice dissatisfaction

The fifth politician to take over the Brazilian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry in the last four years has been appointed as part of a ministerial reform announced last week.

Celso Pansera is an opposition congressman with barely no experience in the technology sector, just as previous incumbent Aldo Rebelo, who had been previously the sports minister and took over last December.

Pansera's only experience related to the ministry he is taking over is his past role of president of the Foundation of Support to Technical Education back in 2009.

According to newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff sought other alternatives as she thinks Pansera lacks gravitas. Appointing Pansera for the job seems to have been a last resort, as the ministry had been offered to two other opposition figures who turned it down.

Reasons behind the lack of interest in the science and tech ministry include an already small budget that keeps shrinking: spending at the start of the year had been set at R$7.3bn ($1.87bn) but there have been cuts of more than R$2bn ($512,000) since the start of 2015. The budget in 2014 was R$9.5bn ($2.4bn).

The Brazilian technology industry has voiced its dissatisfaction with the ministry's high turnover. As Pansera's appointment was announced, eight technology associations released a statement saying that the sector "can no longer cope with frequent changes in the ministry's administration, which impact strategic programs and policies."

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