Brazilian oil company Petrobras has announced it will cut 12,000 jobs by 2020.
The voluntary layoff program will help save $9 billion at the company, which has struggled with losses following a price-fixing and bribery scandal.
It has also been hit by the global slump in the price of oil.
Petrobras, which has reported losses for the last two financial years, is expected to spend $1.23 billion on implementing the job cuts plan.
The semi-public company has long been one of the biggest employers in Brazil, with more than 80,000 employees.
However, Petrobras has seen its business hit by the huge falls in oil prices globally and one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country’s history, which has gone to the heart of the country’s government.
Petrobras’ announcement that 12,000 jobs are to be cut over the next five years is part of a investment plan to turn around the company’s fortunes.
The oil producer reported its biggest quarterly loss to date in Q4 of 2015 – $10.2 billion – after losses at its oil fields and refinery projects.
The corruption scandal involving price-fixing, bribery and political kickbacks over the last two years has dented confidence in the business. Some former Petrobras executives have been jailed.
The scandal has also harmed the reputation of Brazil’sPresident Dilma Rousseff, who was on the board of the company at the time of the offences.
Dilma Rousseff is facing the possibility of impeachment on unrelated charges of false accounting.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has refused to resign over her alleged mishandling of the economy after moves to impeach her.
Dilma Rousseff accused her opponents of causing a political crisis which she said had damaged the economy.
She also defended her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, over money-laundering allegations.
Dilma Rousseff said a prosecutors’ request for his detention had no legal basis.
The ongoing crisis has deepened the worst recession in decades in Brazil – Latin America’s biggest economy.
Dilma Rousseff said she had been democratically elected and had no intention of going.
The inquiry has implicated several business leaders and politicians close to the government including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Regional prosecutors in Sao Paulo want Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 70, placed in “preventive custody” after charging him with failing to declare ownership of a luxury sea-front penthouse in the seaside resort of Guaruja.
They say this is necessary because he may try to obstruct the investigation. The request still has to be accepted or rejected by a judge.
The former president denies any wrongdoing and says the claims are politically motivated. He says he never owned the apartment.
His lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins, said Brazil’s ex-leader had invested in the project and had visited the unfinished apartment but later asked for his money back rather than receiving the property.
President Dilma Rousseff refused to comment on a possible cabinet job for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva but said she would be proud to have him in her government.
Last week, the former president was briefly detained and questioned in a separate, federal investigation into whether extensive refurbishment on the penthouse had constituted favors in exchange for political benefit.
The renovations were carried out by one of Brazil’s biggest construction companies, OAS.
Officially the apartment belongs to OAS, which is itself accused of paying bribes to politicians and senior officials at state oil company Petrobras to secure lucrative contracts.
In addition, federal prosecutors are looking into allegations that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sold his influence in President Dilma Rousseff’s administration in exchange for donations to his Instituto Lula non-profit foundation.
Last week’s questioning of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva led to criticism not only from his supporters but also from judges and politicians, who said it was unnecessary.
His supporters say the attacks on him are aimed at tarnishing his reputation, amid rumors that he may run for office again in 2018.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was Brazil’s left-leaning president from 2003 to 2011 and was succeeded in office by his political protégé, Dilma Rousseff, who has record-low approval rates amid a serious economic crisis.
A former factory worker and union leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains a very popular figure in Brazil despite the accusations against senior members of the Workers’ Party.
Brazil’s economy shrank by 3.8% in 2015, according to the national statistics agency IBGE.
The world’s seventh-largest economy has fallen sharply in recent months due partly to low commodity prices and sluggish global growth.
Political paralysis has hampered Brazil’s efforts to tackle its economic problems, including a budget deficit that has reached 10.8% of GDP.
President Dilma Rousseff is trying to head off the opposition’s efforts to impeach her over alleged accounting irregularities, which means she cannot afford to alienate supporters in her Workers’ Party by cutting spending or raising taxes.
Investigations are also continuing into a high-level bribery and corruption scandal involving major construction projects.
Dilma Rousseff’s predecessor as president, fellow Workers’ Party politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is one of the people under investigation.
Brazil’s economic performance in 2015 vies with that of Russia as the worst in a major economy for 2015. Official figures for Russia’s 2015 GDP have not yet been released.
It was also Brazil’s worst set of figures since 1990.
Analysts say Brazil is now caught in a classic case of stagflation – a combination of high inflation and a recession.
On March 2, policymakers at Brazil’s central bank voted to keep the benchmark Selic interest rate at its current level of 14.25%.
High interest rates have traditionally been used in Brazil as a policy tool to keep inflation in check. However, inflation has surged in any case, now standing at 11%, while high rates are hurting businesses.
Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy has resigned as Latin America’s largest economy struggles to recover from recession.
Joaquim Levy has decided to leave after disagreements with President Dilma Rousseff and the governing Worker’s Party over his austerity policies.
He is being replaced by a close ally of Dilma Rousseff, the current Planning Minister Nelson Barbosa.
Brazil is facing its worst recession in 25 years.
In a statement, Joaquim Levy said he remained confident that the economy could recover in 2016.
“Time will show that we will reap the results of all that has been done this year, putting the Brazilian economy back on track,” he wrote.
Brazil’s economy shrank by 1.7% in Q3 of 2015 compared with Q2. Compared with a year ago, the economy is 4.5% smaller.
Inflation is also on the rise, with the annual rate hitting 10% in November 2015.
Joaquim Levy’s resignation is a huge blow to those who advocated tougher budgets and limited austerity to tackle Brazil’s deepening economic crisis.
His attempts to tighten government budgets were repeatedly blocked by Worker’s Party stalwarts in Congress.
The new minister says he will keep a tight control on public spending.
Nelson Barbosa: “If we control government spending we will manage to control public debt and we will eventually be able to reduce public debt.”
Inflation is expected to begin falling next year, he added.
President Dilma Rousseff gave no reason for Joaquim Levy’s departure.
The change comes amid a serious political crisis in Brazil.
Earlier this month the Speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, agreed to begin impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff over alleged irregularities in the management of last year’s budget.
On December 18, however, the Supreme Court handed Dilma Rousseff an important victory.
It scrapped a commission set up to deal with impeachment proceedings against the president, in a major setback for the opposition.
The court also gave more powers to the government-controlled Senate to block the impeachment process.
The ruling means that proceedings initiated earlier this month will have to start from scratch.
Brazil’s economy has entered recession after official figures showed it contracted by 1.9% between in Q2 2015 compared with the previous three months.
Analysts had expected a contraction, but the number was worse than expected.
Q1 2015 output was also revised down to show a 0.7%, rather than a 0.2%, contraction.
Brazil, the seventh-largest economy in the world, has seen economic growth fall sharply in recent times.
This is due in part to low commodity prices and sluggish global growth.
High interest rates – currently 14.25% – have also affected consumer spending, an important element of Brazil’s economy, while this year, the government has introduced stringent austerity measures designed to tackle high levels of debt.
Government spending, including on unemployment benefits, has fallen sharply, while taxes have risen.
In Q2 2015, household spending fell by 2.1% compared with the previous three months. The biggest falls came in the industrial sector, where construction output fell 8.4%
Transport, storage, postal services, financial services and insurance all saw falls in output.
Compared with a year earlier, Brazil’s economy as a whole shrank by 2.6%.
The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
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