Rio state declares financial emergency, requests funding for Olympics

Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:54pm EDT
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro's governor declared a state of financial emergency Friday and requested federal funds to help fulfill obligations for public services during the Olympics that start Aug. 5.

Emergency measures are needed to avoid "a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management," a decree in the state's Official Gazette said.

The state's revenue, largely tied to the petroleum industry, slumped in the last two years as global oil prices collapsed.

The announcement followed this week's visit to Rio by Brazil's Interim President Michel Temer, who said the federal government would ensure all obligations are met for a successful Games.

Rio is expecting about 500,000 foreign visitors during the Olympics, which has coincided with Brazil's worst recession since the 1930s and a political crisis that last month led to the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff.

"The state's financial emergency in no way delays the delivery of Olympic projects and the promises assumed by the city of Rio," Mayor Eduardo Paes said on Twitter.

He also underscored that legacy construction projects, with the exception of an 8.79 billion-real expansion of Rio's metro that is expected to be finished just days before the Games open, are the responsibility of the city and that most have been completed.

The local organizing committee for the Games said the state's fiscal situation did not impact its actual running of the Olympics, which relies entirely on private funds.

While the majority of Olympic infrastructure costs have been spread across city, state and federal budgets, with some financing from private companies, the state is responsible for most day-to-day security and health services in Rio.   Continued...

A journalist walks in front of a screen with olympics logos during the medal launching ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes