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UPDATE 1-Scolding Bolsonaro, key Brazil lawmaker sees up to 1 trln reais savings in pension reform

Ricardo Brito and Jamie McGeever

savings in pension reform@ (Adds quotes, details)

BRASILIA, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazil's congressional pension reform committee is targeting an overhaul that will generate savings of between 800 billion and 1 trillion reais, its chairman said on Tuesday, but warned the government lacks the votes needed for approval.

In an interview with Reuters, federal deputy Marcelo Ramos said the pensions committee is unlikely to vote on President Jair Bolsonaro's signature economic reform bill before the first week of July due to local holidays. It would then go to the lower house and subsequently to the Senate.

But Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes must show the political leadership and engagement they have so far lacked in order to get a fractured Congress to support the bill and pass it, Ramos said.

"Our focus is between 800 billion and 1 trillion," he said, referring to the anticipated savings over the next decade from overhauling Brazil's costly social security system. The government's proposal aims for 1.237 trillion reais ($307 billion), but markets expect it will be around 600 billion.

Lower House president Rodrigo Maia said on Tuesday he expects the bill's coordinator on the pensions committee, lawmaker Samuel Moreira, to deliver his report by June 15.

'BLANK CHECK'

Bolsonaro has come under fire for his alleged passive role in what is his administration's signature economic reform plan. The pension reform aims to restore public finances, lift investor confidence and revive Brazil's economy.

"He is going to have to go out and talk to party leaders, or with deputies individually. His choice," Ramos said. "When you go to the plenary, you have to deal with the parties, if only to talk, to offer amendments, anything. But without negotiating with the parties, there is no vote."

Ramos also criticized Guedes, seen by many as one of the few heavyweights in Bolsonaro's cabinet, for essentially using pension reform as a vehicle to impose his orthodox, liberal economic vision on the country.

Ramos said Guedes is aiming for an elevated savings target because he can use some 400 billion reais of it to cover the cost of transitioning from the current system to one of private individual retirement savings accounts.

"What does Guedes want? It's a blank check," Ramos said. "The whole structure of (the government's) reform proposal is to lead to a private savings account system. Even today, no one has said how much this will cost."

($1 = 4.02 reais) (Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Jamie McGeever; editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Dan Grebler)