Privatization of Banco do Brasil and Petrobras is in line, says Guedes – Prime Time Zone

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Minister of Economy recognizes that the pace of privatization is below ideal and justifies delay due to political obstacles

Edu Andrade/Ascom/MEEconomy Minister Paulo Guedes affirms that the Social Security reform was not satisfactory and defends the advance of privatizations

Minister of Economics, Paulo Guedes stated this Monday, 27, that the sale of the Bank of Brazil and yes Petrobras is “in line”, and that the value of privatization of SOEs should be used to strengthen social programs. The economic team’s forecast is to get rid of the companies by 2031. “What is the plan for the next ten years? Continue with privatizations. Petrobras, Banco do Brasil, everybody joining the queue, being sold and this being transformed into social dividends.” According to the minister, the speed of the agenda for privatization is slower than desired by the government, but the delay is the result of political obstacles. “We are not moving at the pace we would like, but we have privatized R$240 billion in two and a half years. It wasn’t the big companies. The big ones are coming now”, he stated. “I would like to privatize all the state-owned companies. who gives the timming it’s politics, the economist is not the guy who has the vote. I arrive here full of ideas, plans and dreams, but it’s politics that drives the process. It can slow down, slow down, interrupt”, said Guedes in participation in an event promoted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC, its acronym in English).

The minister said that privatization is part of the country’s growth plan for the next decade. Commenting on the criticisms received, Guedes said that sales of state-owned companies in the former president’s government Fernando Henrique Cardoso placeholder image “were at the limit of irresponsibility”, but that it is trying not to respond to negative comments. “We discredit Brazilian democracy when we lack the truth, when we are intellectually dishonest and do not recognize good things that are being done. We all need more respect for each other. I have been trying to practice this, not responding. I’m almost venting here, I didn’t want this to be taken as an offense,” said President Jair Bolsonaro’s (non-party) aide. The minister stated that the criticisms come from those who do not understand principles of general economic equilibrium. “I’m trying to improve as a person, trying to correct. I want, sometimes, I’m a human being, I sometimes want to criticize, to give everything back, but I’m noticing”, he said.

Guedes also said that the development of the economy depends on the reform agenda, but that the efforts required to fight the pandemic in the new coronavirus took practically a year and a half from the federal government. According to him, the Social Security Reform “was not ideal” and should be changed to a funded scheme. The Economy Minister stated that the administrative reform approved by the Chamber “is not the most powerful possible, but it was politically [possível]”. “I delivered this reform in 2019, in the Executive. It arrived in Congress in mid-2020, and is only now going to be evaluated. But since the first year, the plan was very clear, it was the control of expenses”, said Guedes. The head of the economic team also said that Brazil will spend US$ 2.5 billion over the next few years to strengthen ecologically sustainable projects and change the country’s image on the international stage. “Brazil is the greatest green power in the world, it is the cleanest energy matrix. It is clear that we burn forests, that there is illegal deforestation, this is all true. But this happened much more intensely in other countries in past times”, he stated.