Temer Sets Out Massive Privatisation Programme
James Tweedie, The Morning Star, London, 15 September 2016
Brazil’s unelected president launched a wholesale privatisation drive of the
country’s transport, oil fields and infrastructure on Tuesday.
Michel Temer, who came to power in last month’s legislative coup against
elected Workers Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff, described the
decimation of public ownership as an “extraordinary opening,” of Brazil’s
The sell-off includes two seaports, four airports, five hydroelectric
projects, six electricity distribution plants, three sanitation companies,
five motorway and railway projects, three oil and gas operations and four
The number of projects to be snatched out of public hands as part of Temer’s
grand “Project Grow” was initially announced as 25, but later increased to
Of those at least 21 — including Porto Alegre, Salvador, Florianopolis and
Fortaleza airports — will be privatised next year and the rest in 2018.
Mr Temer told a meeting of his economic team: “The objective is to promote
economic growth with the central goal of creating new jobs.”
He claimed: “The state cannot do everything” as he announced the
flogging-off of the national monopolies to privateers.
But the plan did not inspire Brazil’s biggest stock market, with the Bovespa
index closing down 3 per cent.
Meanwhile the Chamber of Deputies — the lower house of Congress — was set to
vote on legislation to allow the privitisation of one of Brazil’s most
valuable resources — its offshore “pre-salt” layer oil reserves.
Former PT President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government passed
legislation which gave state-run oil firm Petrobras exclusive rights to the
reserves which are valued at £2.3 trillion — twice Brazil’s GDP.
This was designed to keep the fields under state management and restrict
However Mr Temer’s new Foreign Minister Jose Serra pushed the privatisation
law through the Senate in February, sparking fears that the reserves could
be bought by foreign investors if it is approved by Congress.
Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks revealed in 2010 that Mr Serra had
promised transnational oil giants Exxon and Chevron the previous year he
would reverse the PT legislation in return for funding his failed
Six major trade union federations will stage a general strike on September
22 against Mr Temer’s attacks on social programmes and workers’ rights.
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