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Privatization in Brazil (Latin American Advisor)

Latin American Advisor | Pedro Rossi

Pedro Rossi, professor at the State University of Campinas: “First, we must recognize that the notion of privatizing large state-owned companies was rejected in the last election. In the most recent campaigns, the candidates denied having intentions to privatize companies like Petrobras. This push to privatize now reinforces the antidemocratic aspect of the times Brazil is currently going through. An illegitimate government, which was openly conspiring to depose an elected president, is prountitled2posing to sell strategic public assets without the least bit of democratic consensus. The main justifi cation is the need for fi scal relief in the public accounts, but the nature of the fi scal problem is different, and the amount collected with privatizations is nothing compared to the problem. Eletrobras, for example, should be worth some 20 billion reais, while public spending with interest is around 500 billion reais per year. So it would take the sale of about 25 Eletrobrases to pay the interest expenses for the
year; we’ll see the fi scal problem continue. The privatization program discards instruments of economic development and national sovereignty. Eletrobras has cutting-edge technology in the generation, transmission and distribution of energy, as well as in hydroelectric, wind energy and electric vehicles. Why get rid of such a strategic company? In addition, China has already entered the Brazilian energy sector through a state company, the State Grid Corporation of China. If this company buys Eletrobras, it would not be exactly a privatization, but rather a transfer of assets from the Brazilian government to the Chinese government.”