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Brazil govt to free up 20 bln reais to ease budget strain

BRASILIA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's government will free up 20 billion reais ($4.9 billion) by the end of next month for departments hit hardest by the squeeze on public spending, presidential chief of staff Onyx Lorenzoni told Reuters on Wednesday.

Some 14 billion reais will be released this month and 6 billion reais next month, Lorenzoni said, adding that most of the funds will go towards the defense, education, health and infrastructure ministries.

The Economy Ministry is due to release its latest bimonthly income and spending review by Sept. 22. So far this year, it has announced spending freezes worth 34 billion reais in an effort to balance the government's books and meet its fiscal targets.

($1 = 4.0675 reais) (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu Writing by Jamie McGeever Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)