- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2005

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Government officials denied Saturday reports that the federal government spent more money on a new presidential plane than on sanitation projects.

Last week, the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said Brazil spent more than twice as much on a new plane for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2004 than it did on public sanitation last year.

Folha said the government spent $46.7 million on a new plane for the president and just under $20 million during the same period on urban sanitation projects. Government officials say the report only took into account sanitation spending by the Ministry of Cities. They said investments in sanitation by other ministries far outweighed the cost of the president’s new plane.

The president, a populist former labor organizer, announced last week he would use more of the 2005 budget for social spending than he did during his first two years in office.

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