President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday made official a reduction in electricity rates aimed at spurring economic growth and making Brazilian firms more competitive.

The reductions, 16.2 percent for households and 28 percent for businesses, will enter into force starting in January.

"We're taking timely and urgent measures that the crisis is imposing ... At the same time, we're promoting structural changes to support the Brazilian economy," Rousseff said.

"Cheaper energy means lower production costs, but it also means more resources to invest (and) to generate more and more jobs," with the resulting impact on the fight against poverty, she said.

Rousseff also said that this measure "will improve the country's participation in the international competition for markets," which will provide Brazil with "greater strength to confront the world crisis."

The president included this new measure in the initiatives adopted by her government to give a greater push to the economy, the growth of which this year has slowed and, according to calculations by private sector analysts, will only expand by about 1.65 percent in 2012.

Among those measures, she cited the process of reducing interest rates and other incentives, such as big tax breaks for different productive sectors.

The new measures and the $65 billion infrastructure plan announced last month will allow the country "to guarantee the continuity of the growth process with social inclusion," Rousseff said.

The announcement was made at an event at the presidential palace attended by almost all members of the Cabinet along with several state governors, dozens of lawmakers, businessmen and union officials. EFE